AKA: le col Claudine (French)
How to say it:
- cut to follow the round shape of the neck and sit flat on the torso
- can fasten at the front or the back
- small and soft
- rounded corners
- sits flat on the body – it does NOT have a collar stand
…of the style: According to fashion history lore, the Peter Pan collar was invented by Maude Adams, John White Alexander and his wife Elizabeth. The trio we collaborating on a costume for Adams, who was set to play Peter Pan in the first production of Peter and Wendy (based on the book by J.M Barrie ) on Broadway in 1905.
However, there is some debate as to whether Adams et al are in fact the true inventors of this style as it very closely resembles the le col Claudine collar, which arose in France in 1900 after it was featured in Colette’s novel Claudine à l’école (Claudine at School). The novel was extremely successful and the le col Claudine collar was an instant success among French women a full 5 years before the Peter Pan collar appeared on Broadway.
Other similar collars that pre-date the Peter Pan style are the Little Lord Fauntleroy collar, which was inspired by the Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel in 1855 and the Buster Brown collar which was worn by a comic strip character of the same name in 1902.
It is unknown where the team got their inspiration from for the now iconic rounded collar, as it does not feature in either the book, or the original London stage play nor has it been included in a Peter Pan costume since then (he tends to be dressed in a V-neck tunic and tights or pants), but regardless of where it came from, the collar was a hit in 1905 and became so popular that by 1907 there were newspaper articles discussing the pros and cons of the girlish trend.
From then on the Peter Pan collar was a staple on the fashion landscape and featured in fashion trends regularly throughout the decades – in the 1920s it was a popular style for young girls, in the 30s, 40s it was big in bridal, in the 50s and 60s is made its way to mainstream fashion and was worn by everyone from the First Lady to the hippest of Mods. In the 70s there was a 50s revival which brought the Peter Pan collar back into the spotlight and in the 80s the rounded collar even found its way onto the Power Suit. During the Grunge movement of the 90s the style fell out of favour, but came back at the turn of the century as women turned their back on grunge in favour of a more pretty and feminine style of dressing.
So far in the 21st century the Peter Pan collar has been a constant feature on the runways – it had a brief resurgence in 2012 as a trend in its own right, and has now settled back into its position as a classic fashion staple.
…of the name: The collar is named after the character Peter Pan, the costume for which is was supposedly first invented in the USA.
- John Alexander and his wife were living in France when Claudine à l’école was released in 1900. They moved back to the USA shortly after.
21st Century Peter Pan Collars
Always a classic, the Peter Pan collar can be found in most facets of the fashion marketplace. Whether it is a subtle detail in self fabric, or a real statement in contrasting colours, textures or embellishments, the style flits effortlessly between girlish youth and chic femininity.
Alice + Olivia, Gemma Lister
Jack Wills, Love Moschino