Within the best-known portrait presupposed to be of Anne Boleyn, a sq. neckline frames her lengthy, slender neck, foreshadowing her grisly date with the executioner on the Tower of London in 1536.
Debates about Boleyn’s look – and what number of fingers she had – have raged for hundreds of years and no uncontested modern portraits of her survive. However most historians agree that her type of gown, which was influenced by her youth in France, set developments within the English court docket. She is usually depicted sporting a low sq. neckline, a French-influenced type that got here to dominate Tudor gown.
Now, as a brand new dramatisation of Boleyn’s life involves TV, the sq. neckline related to Henry VIII’s ill-fated second spouse is having a trend renaissance – 500 years on, it’s as soon as once more hip to be sq..
Tudor-style sq. necks have appeared on the catwalks of Bottega Veneta, Ganni, Molly Goddard, Shrimps and Rejina Pyo, typically utilized by designers as a counterpoint to ruffled sleeves and voluminous clothes. Asos has an eye-watering 2,018 square-necked kinds on the market. Searches for “sq. neck” are up 42% since February on the resale website Depop and up 63% quarter-on-quarter on the trend purchasing app Lyst. Reformation’s £248 Sigmund gown – which pairs a really Boleyn-ish neckline with a contemporary thigh break up – is likely one of the app’s most looked for clothes.
In a yr wherein interval dramas have had an elevated trend affect, with TV changing all different social actions, sq. necks have been omnipresent. A ravishing emerald inexperienced gown with a sq. neck was a central plot level of the splendid movie Portrait of a Woman on Fireplace, whereas the sq. Regency neckline – with its attendant quivering bosoms – performed a starring position in Netflix’s smash hit present Bridgerton.
Within the upcoming depiction of Boleyn’s life, which stars Jodie Turner-Smith and airs on Tuesday at 9pm on Channel 5, the sq. necklines are much more distinguished. They’re worn by all the feminine members of the forged, in eye-catching block colors. “I decided to not have any gildings or embroidery across the neckline, which amplifies the neckline and heightens the severity of the lower in a means that basically pops on digital camera,” mentioned the present’s costume designer, Lynsey Moore.
Moore, who was lauded for her work on Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You, believes the composition of Boleyn’s most well-known portrait is a part of the explanation she continues to be so related to the type, “as a result of it’s not a full-length portray, as now we have with Elizabeth I, we actually solely see that a lot: the sq. neckline and the well-known preliminary B necklace”.
She took inspiration from fashionable catwalks – together with the jewelled tones of the designer Christopher John Rogers, and Prada headbands for modern reinterpretations of one other of Boleyn’s favourites, the French hood – in addition to tapestries and Hans Holbein paintings. “The costumes are usually not traditionally correct, by any means,” mentioned Moore, “however the Tudor essence of the silhouette is there, with a contemporary spin on it.”
This new vogue for displaying pores and skin on the neckline, with clavicles changing pussy-bow blouses and polo necks, feels new after a decade of covered-up dressing. “Maybe it’s a response to the gentle and forgiving developments of tracksuits and floaty clothes final yr,” mentioned the style PR Daisy Hoppen, an early adopter of the pattern, “that we need to put on one thing which makes us sit and get up straight and hugs our physique extra now that we’re out and socialising once more.”