This summer, Love Island has been responsible for trends including rainbow Crocs, floaty shorts and “under-boob” tops. But the standout fashion takeaway is seen in close-ups. The contestants Millie Court, Chloe Burrows and Liberty Poole have all worn nameplate necklaces – a jewellery item made famous by Carrie Bradshaw with her “Carrie” necklace in Sex and the City. Overexposed in the late 90s, they are popular once again.
Burrows’ necklace reads “baby” and Poole’s is her first name. Court’s signature “Sagittarius” has become part of the plot in the series. A love token given to Liam Reardon who broke her trust, the necklace then broke, prompting fans to see it as a “sign” for their relationship.
Away from the fire pit, Jennifer Lopez has worn a necklace with charms spelling out “B-E-N” in reference to Ben Affleck, while Joe Jonas and Kanye West have worn necklaces with their children’s names. Images from the Sex and the City spinoff And Just Like That … have yet to feature a Carrie necklace, but the upcoming series could boost the revival.
Jewellery brands say there is a wider shift to personalisation. H Samuel describes it as “a trend that shows no sign of slowing down”. Necklaces like those in Love Island are sold by Abbott Lyon, which reports a surge in demand. Monica Vinader is known for alphabet charms. They are always popular but “they’re definitely a hot item right now after the J Lo spot”, it says.
A necklace with a loved one’s name brings out the personal in personalisation. Asha Jones says “there’s something special about wearing your partner’s or child’s name around your neck – it’s stylish while thoughtful”. Vinader wears an S for her daughter Scarlett. “I’ve received many compliments about the timelessness and the special sentimental value it holds,” she says.
If most people associate the nameplate with Carrie Bradshaw, it actually has a much longer history, as revealed by the Instagram account and research project Documenting the Nameplate. Marcel Rosa-Salas and Isabel Flower date name jewellery to Victorian England and say the classic nameplate design came to prominence in the seventies. “Nightlife, and particularly the disco era, fostered a cross-pollination of people from different ethic and racial groups,” says Rosa-Sales. “[This] brought fashion accessories like the nameplate necklace into a wider circulation.”
Flower says Sex and the City “brought the nameplate into the homes of a wealthier, whiter, cable-viewing America”. As such, the Carrie necklace is often seen as year dot for the necklace. This, and the current trend, neglects its history outside of the mainstream, however. “There is a false popular narrative that nameplates are having a resurgence,” says Rosa-Salas. “Online retail and nostalgia-driven fashion trends have played a part …[but] for many, nameplates never went out of style.”