You'll have to excuse us, dear readers, because we're feeling a bit fashion fickle. While not too long ago we were obsessing over the season's daring, plunging necklines, today we find ourselves enamored with the more modest-yet no less sexy-high-neck silhouette. This of-the-moment neckline is currently on our radar thanks to ladies like Kate Bosworth, Diane Kruger, and Rihanna, all of whom recently created strikingly chic ensembles with high-neck halter dresses. An elegant nod to spring's athletic-inspired looks, this neckline has officially become the au courant choice for formal occasions and cocktail hours alike, hence, the reason we're bringing it to your attention in today's Trend Report!
On The Runway
We first fell for this neck-defining silhouette while gazing at Prabal Gurung's S/S 12 collection, which introduced the trend via daring, semi-sheer, laser-cut dresses and breathtakingly beautiful gowns. Speaking of the latter, the designer blew us away with the White Silk Georgette Gown with Graphic Tulle Inserts and Flutter Sleeves ($5995), shown above. The ethereal dress highlights all the right places with modern cutouts around the shoulders and at the waist, and features a thigh-high slit that lends itself to a serious left leg moment. The result is sexy-without revealing too much-and wonderfully dramatic, perfect for a black-tie event.
On the Red Carpet
Perhaps the most popular place we've spotted the high-neck halter off the runways is on the red carpet. Naturally, the always stylish Kruger led the way at the UNICEF Ball in Beverly Hills late last year with her Emilio Pucci ensemble. We love how the layered look balances the conservative, high neckline of the Top ($1295) with the slightly risqué sheer Underskirt ($1390) and Long Skirt ($2191) for an outcome that is equal parts chic and daring. Following in Kruger's footsteps, Victoria's Secret model Candice Swanepoel turned up at the Met Gala earlier this month in a custom high-neck crepe silk halter dress by Rag & Bone. Again, we approve of the semi-sheer design, but what makes this dress a real standout--aside from its stunning royal blue hue--is the column silhouette, which elongates her figure perfectly for a very flattering result. There's also something to be said about the custom Calvin Klein Collection navy beaded halter dress model Caroline Murphy selected for the DKMS Linked Against Blood Cancer gala in New York last month. The dress fits Murphy's body like a glove, and the combination of the darker color, sleek shape, and textured fabric makes a strong statement.
While we certainly enjoy a dramatic, floor-grazing take on today's trend, the high-neck halter works just as well with shorter hemlines too, as seen on Bosworth, Rihanna, and Arizona Muse. We've already expressed our love for Bosworth's beauty look at the Los Angeles premiere of Life Happens, but her custom Prada dress should not go unnoticed. The bejeweled frock-paired here with a silver JewelMint box clutch and Christian Louboutin heels-is a fitting choice for the sartorially savvy actress; the delicate neckline highlights her long and beautiful neck perfectly, while the below-the-knee hemline keeps the piece fun and youthful. A few days earlier, at the London photocall for Battleship, Rihanna captivated onlookers in a silky bronze Alexander Wang iteration (which was sadly not produced), while model Arizona Muse caught our eye in a shimmering Calvin Klein Collection Silver Halter Dress ($3395, 212.292.9000) at the DKMS Linked Against Blood Cancer gala. Both dresses offer a less formal, sexy-chic take on the trend, and prove that a high-neck halter works for both day and night!
The high-neck halter is completely wearable in real life too! In fact, this neckline is a great choice for cocktail hour, a summer wedding, or the office (under a blazer, of course), making it a must-have this season. If you're headed to drinks with friends, consider a body-con style in a cool summer hue, like Ralph Lauren Black Label's Halter Dress ($798) in Lime, or try Bird by Juicy Couture's Bonded Halter Dress ($209), which has a more flirtatious, pleat-front silhouette. We're also smitten with Michael Kors' investment-worthy Halter Dress ($1295); it comes in a versatile bronze hue and is elegant enough for any formal event. The high-neck halter is also a great choice for an afternoon wedding, just go for a dress with a longer hemline, like Mango's Flower Halter Dress ($150), Haute Hippie's Color-Block Silk-Georgette Halterneck Dress ($585), or French Connection's Halter Maxi Dress ($261) to ensure you're not underdressed for the occasion. Searching for some casual selections? Zara's Printed Dress ($80) and Jessica Simpson's Handkerchief Hem Chiffon Halter Dress ($148) both feature spring-ready patterns and would look stylish worn with neutral wedges for a weekend shopping day.
Now, if you're going to incorporate this trend into your nine-to-five wardrobe, we suggesting forgoing a dress-it can come off as too formal or revealing, depending on your job-and trying a modest halter top under a tailored jacket. You can always go for a chic solid-color option, like Calvin Klein's Sparkle Chain-Neck Halter ($35) in Pink, or if you're feeling more adventurous, a bold print, like Trina Turk's Saskia Top ($176) or Milly's Basketweave Print Dare Resin Halter Top ($259). As for some chic outerwear suggestions, we think J. Crew's Schoolboy Blazer ($175) or Free People's Tattered Boucle Jacket ($168) are both great options. Our last piece of advice is to exercise restraint in the accessory department. Avoid cluttering the neckline with a statement necklace, and instead throw on a few sleek cuffs or a cocktail ring for polished finish. However you choose to address this trend, we promise you will be up to the neck in compliments!--Jessica Baker