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Tuesday, December 06, 2022

The Elusive Family Behind Chrome Hearts, Fashion’s Most Impossible Empire

Cher has since been a loyal fanbase, the leader of an extraordinarily diverse and enthusiastic celebrity cult following that over the years has included Lou Reed, Drake, Nicolas Cage, Bella Hadid, Dennis Rodman, The Weeknd, Damien Hirst, and more. and fashion giants such as Rei Kawakubo, Rick Owens, Virgil Abloh and Karl Lagerfeld. Biker gear is now a small part of the Chrome Hearts universe: everything from brand hoodies to ski goggles to handbags to crystal glassware to tufted-leather sofas to funky novelties like the Ebony Toilet Plunger and Sterling Single-Slice Lemon Squeezer makes. “I don’t think we’re making money on that lemon squeezer,” says Laurie Lynn Stark, Richard’s wife and business partner. “But it’s sick.”

Although it was never part of the plan, Richard, Laurie Lynn and their three children have become fashion world figures. “We never wanted to be famous designers. We wanted to be successful artists,” says Laurie Lynn, who says her kids were intimidated when Drake named her in a song. Celebrities, in turn, were the Starks. The passes come to realize their tops and svelte flex. Many are led by 18-year-old Kristian Stark, who introduced Chrome Hearts to the likes of Young Thug and Lil Uzi Vert, as sex by their parents. pistol and Guns N’ Roses. When Odell Beckham Jr. caught his first post-season touchdown pass during the 2022 NFL playoffs, he did so while wearing Nike wide receiver gloves, which were blue and yellow-leather. The bikers were adorned with crosses, an informal collab executed at Chrome Hearts’ Hollywood Atelier. When Drake bought a new Rolls-Royce Cullinan, he asked Chrome Hearts to redesign it on leather floor mats. Why? Jack Bia, a 25-year-old DJ, Drake Consiglier, and friend of Christian’s, puts it this way: “Chrome Hearts is all about everything on earth. One of the great brands.”

Which is strange, because Chrome Hearts doesn’t seem particularly well suited to capture the current fashion enthusiast. Fashion has moved light-years beyond the heavy baroque-biker aesthetic in the ’90s, and most brands associated with that polarizing movement (Von Dutch, Ed Hardy) fell off a cliff during the naughties. But chrome hearts have stayed true to burnt metal and leather crosses, fleurs-de-lis and daggers, which in any other context read as old, even tackle.

Buying Chrome Hearts isn’t particularly easy either. The company is one of the few in the luxury sector without a permanent e-commerce shop, and it does not advertise or publish collection images on its website. To find out what the brand is making in no time, and to get your hands on it, is to head over to an actual Chrome Hearts shop—if you can find one. Most of the brand’s stores operate like an if-you-know-you-know clubhouse, with little in the way of outdoor signage. And the prices, which can reach the upper five digits for fine jewelry, are still jaw-dropping even when Stark was slaying guitar straps.

“I have to tell you, a lot of people didn’t believe it,” Cher says of Chrome Hearts in the beginning. Most people, initially, she explains, reacted to Stark’s Quixotic project in basically the same way she did. “They’ll go, ‘Oh, it’s just some guy making leather.'” The fashion industry still seems unsure what to make of chrome hearts – despite its deeply American aesthetic, the brand is not included in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. it was done. America-themed Costume Institute’s exhibition. But Chrome Hearts is getting harder to ignore or write. “Richard had a dream,” Cher says. “And it wasn’t ‘some man who made leather.'”

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