The elusive family behind Chrome Hearts, fashion’s most unlikely empire
Cher has been a devoted fan ever since, leading an incredibly diverse and fervent celebrity cult following that includes, among others, Lou Reed, Drake, Nicolas Cage, Bella Hadid, Dennis Rodman, The Weekend, Damien Hirst, and fashion icons like Rei Kawakubo, Rick Owens, Virgil Abloy, and Karl Lagerfeld. Chrome Hearts currently produces everything from hoodies to ski goggles to handbags to crystal glassware to tufted-leather sofas to eccentric curiosities like ebony toilet plungers and silver single-slice lemon squeezers, among other things. Laurie Lynn Stark, Richard’s wife and business partner, says, “I don’t think we’re earning money on that lemon squeezer.
“However, it’s sick.”
Richard, Laurie Lynn, and their three children have become fashion world celebrities, despite the fact that it was never their intention. “We never aspired to be well-known fashion designers.” “We wanted to be successful artists,” Laurie Lynn adds, adding that her children were shocked when Drake mentioned her in a song. Celebrities, on the other hand, flock to the Starks to carry out their most extravagant and opulent fantasies. Many are led by 18-year-old Kristian Stark, who, like his parents, introduced Chrome Hearts to the Sex Pistols and Guns N’ Roses, as well as Young Thug and Lil Uzi Vert.
During the 2022 NFL playoffs, Odell Beckham Jr Chrome Heart Jeans caught his first post-season touchdown pass while wearing Nike wide receiver gloves with blue-and-yellow leather biker crosses, an unofficial collaboration created in Chrome Hearts’ Hollywood atelier. Drake commissioned Chrome Hearts to remodel his new Rolls-Royce Cullinan, even down to the leather floor mats. Why? “Chrome Hearts is one of the finest brands on earth,
“Says Zack Bia, a 25-year-old DJ, Drake consigliere, and Kristian’s friend.
Which is odd, considering Chrome Hearts doesn’t appear to be well-suited to capturing the current fashion zeitgeist. Most labels affiliated with that polarizing movement (Von Dutch, Ed Hardy) went off a cliff during the noughties, and fashion has advanced light-years beyond the heavy baroque-biker aesthetic that grabbed off in the ’90s. Chrome Hearts, on the other hand, has stuck to burnished metal and leather crosses, fleurs-de-lees, and daggers that would be obsolete, if not gaudy, in any other context.
Chrome Hearts are likewise not especially simple to come by.
The company is one of the few in the luxury market that does not have a permanent e-commerce store, and it does not advertise or distribute collection images on its website. Going to a genuine Chrome Hearts shop – if you can find one – is your best bet for finding out what the brand is manufacturing at any particular time and getting your hands on it. The majority of the brand’s storefronts run as if-you-know-you-know clubhouses, with no signage on the outside. And the costs, which may reach the high five figures for fine jeweler, are now as staggering as they were when Stark was selling guitar straps.
In the beginning, Cher says about Chrome Hearts,
“I have to tell you, a lot of people didn’t believe.
” Most people, she continues, first reacted to Stark’s irrational project in the same manner she did. “‘Oh, that’s just some man making leather,’ they’d say.” Despite its distinctly American look, Chrome Hearts was not featured in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s recent Americana-themed Costume Institute exhibition, indicating that the fashion industry is still unclear of what to make of the company. Chrome Hearts, on the other hand, is becoming increasingly difficult to dismiss or dismiss. Cher says, “Richard had a dream.” “And it wasn’t going to be ‘just some man creating leather,'” says the narrator.