Chrome Hearts is a luxury brand founded in the 1980s and produces a wide range of items. They are mainly known for their jewelry, clothing, accessories, and home goods. Many celebrities have worn and collaborated with Chrome Hearts in their 3 decades as a brand. Chrome Hearts is a difficult brand to come by considering their expensive prices, how few collections/items they release, and how they only sell in stores. These factors are not as big of an issue for celebrities. In fact, many celebrities who wear and love Chrome Hearts have connections to the brand and its founders, Richard and Laurie Lynn Stark. This article lists some celebrities who champion Chrome Hearts and help make the brand popular:
- Rei Kawakubo
- The Rolling Stones
- Virgil Abloh
- Bella Hadid
Rei Kawakubo is a fashion designer and the founder of Japanese fashion company, Comme des Garçons. Kawakubo’s relationship with Chrome Hearts started in 1991 when she invited Richard Stark to model Chrome Hearts at an exhibition she was holding at Comme des Garçons’ Aoyama flagship. Through the exhibition, Chrome Hearts was introduced to the Japanese market, which is now their second-largest market after the United States. Stark was so grateful for the invitation that he bought a Comme des Garçons black shirt and redesigned it in a Chrome Hearts style to give to Kawakubo as a gift. He swapped the buttons on the shirt to silver Chrome Hearts buttons and wrote “Chrome des Garçons” on the tag. The two have a friendly relationship as some of Kawakubo’s Dover Street locations still sell Chrome Hearts, which not many third-party retailers do. They had their first official collaboration in 2007 for a small seasonal capsule of silver pendants and apparel. Their most recent collaboration was in Fall/Winter 2021. The collection consisted of 19 pieces and was only available in the Comme des Garçons Osaka location. Prices ranged from about $3k to $18k.
Cher is an American pop singer, and her connection to Chrome Hearts is not through the business but through the Stark family. Cher is friends with Richard and Laurie Lynn Stark. When Richard Stark won the CFDA Accessories Designer of the Year award in 1992, he chose Cher to be the person to present him with the award. Cher showed up to the award ceremony wearing Chrome Hearts; she wore black leather pants with signature Chrome Hearts crosses at the knees, a lot of Chrome Hearts jewelry, and a handbag that she joked was not fully functional yet during her speech. Cher was also featured in Chrome Hearts Magazine, specifically Series 1 Volume 7. The magazine was shot by Laurie Lynn Stark and was released only in Japan in the early 2000s. In addition to being friends with the Stark founders, Cher is also the godmother of their eldest daughter, Jesse Jo. As a kid, Jesse Jo would travel with Cher while she was touring. During that time, Cher gave Jesse Jo the nickname “Sugar Jones.” When Jesse Jo got the idea to design white heeled boots for Chrome Hearts, she decided to name them the Sugar Jones boot.
The Rolling Stones
Chrome Hearts has major popularity with rock and roll bands. For The Rolling Stones, Chrome Hearts made them custom tour gear like a $40,000 gold and diamond belt buckle for Mick Jagger. In 2002, they collaborated with The Rolling Stones on a small capsule collection for the band’s “Forty Licks” tour. All of the products had the band’s iconic tongue and lips logo on them. The collection included trucker hats, T-shirts, hoodies, and jewelry. The 2002 collection was even revisited in 2016 in honor of The Rolling Stones’ newly-released album called Blue & Lonesome. To go along with the album name, Chrome Hearts added new items, some with touches of blue. For example, they made a blue shearling jacket and used blue sapphire stones to create the logo on a belt buckle. They also upped the scale of the items by adding more diamonds and semiprecious stones. Some other items were hooded sweatshirts, leather jackets, rings, red plaid pants, and silk shirts. The collection was priced between $450-$203,000.
Designer and founder of brand Off-White, Virgil Abloh, loved Chrome Hearts since he was young. Abloh had a genuine admiration for “Richard’s creativity and what Chrome Hearts represents.” He asked for a collaboration with the brand, but he got turned down because the Starks are very particular with who they collaborate with. They like for their collaborations to happen “naturally and instinctually,” so this usually means collaborating with people they know personally. This explains why Abloh got rejected because Stark and Abloh had never met before and Stark hadn’t heard of Abloh. However, the two met a few years later, and Stark took a liking to Abloh. This mutual liking laid the foundation for the collaborations Abloh dreamed of.
Chrome Hearts and Off-White had their first collaboration in 2015 for a capsule of T-shirts and trucker hats. Rather than being a one-off collaboration, they did a follow-up capsule the following year of short-sleeved tees. Their decision to work with one another again was out of “a mutual respect for the other and their brand’s perspective.” Their most iconic collaboration was in 2019 for Abloh’s Spring/Summer 2019 collection with Louis Vuitton. Chrome Hearts hosted the collection at their New York flagship. One of the pieces was a wooden ebony bench that is broken in the middle. The concept of the bench is that “at first glance, [the bench looks] fragile and ‘snapped in half’ while ultimately being built out of the strongest ebony wood.” The bench took 5 years to make and only 10 pieces were made. 1 was for each of the designers and the remaining 8 were sold to customers. The collaborations between Stark and Abloh are a great example of how crucial relationship building is to collaborations.
Barbadian singer Rihanna has never collaborated with Chrome Hearts but is still a long-time fan of the brand. On a visit to Japan, she went to a Chrome Hearts store and bought a meat cleaver and a stapler. Both items, upon their appearance, do not look too crazy but have Chrome Hearts-esque 3D emblems on them. The meat cleaver has three of the emblem on the handle and a matching leather case for the blade. The top of the stapler has a different but similar style emblem to the meat cleaver and is made completely of 2000 sterling silver, making it very heavy. Clearly, these are extravagant items for the average person but perfect for Rihanna.
Rihanna also wears Chrome Hearts to public appearances. In 2015, she wore Chrome Hearts to the event in which she revealed the cover of her Anti album. She wore a black silk robe and matching dress; both were covered in Chrome Hearts crosses. At weekend 1 of Coachella 2018, Rihanna attended to see headliner The Weeknd’s performance. She wore a custom Chrome Hearts outfit of a white leather button-up shirt and pants. Rihanna seems to love matching button-up shirt and pants sets because, in November 2020, she wore a Chrome Hearts tie-dye one.
Similar to Cher, the American model Bella Hadid also has a familial connection with Chrome Hearts. She is a long-time close friend of Jesse Jo and would visit the Chrome Hearts factory in Los Angeles as a teenager. Hadid is close to the entire Stark family and says, “If my family weren’t my family, I would probably be a Stark. They’re like the other half of me!” She has released a few collections with the brand. The first collection was released in 2017 and consisted of 40 pieces of apparel and accessories. At the end of 2020, Hadid held a charity fundraiser during the COVID-19 pandemic through a 49-piece collection with Chrome Hearts. She hand tie-dyed baby tees, short-sleeve tees, and long-sleeve tees. All 49 shirts were priced at $260 each and sold exclusively on Chrome Hearts’ website for one day only. Chrome Hearts does not sell their products online but did for this collection. 100% of proceeds from the collection were donated to Feeding America, a hunger-relief nonprofit organization, which Hadid chose herself.
Hadid also appears in Chrome Hearts ad campaigns. Before even signing to a modeling agency, Hadid did campaign work for Chrome Hearts in their Spring/Summer 2013 campaign when was only 16 years old. She also stars in campaigns that promote her collaborations with the brand. When the brand and model collaborated on an eyewear collection, Chrome Hearts launched a Spring/Summer 2018 campaign starring Hadid and Australian male model Jordan Barrett. Chrome Hearts ad campaigns are far and few because the Starks, particularly Richard, does not want the brand to be too public. Most, if not all, campaigns are shot by Hadid’s “angel mother,” Laurie Lynn Stark.
American rapper Drake is one of the biggest fans of Chrome Hearts. His love for Chrome Hearts was documented beginning in 2019. He was pictured wearing a Chrome Hearts jacket while sitting courtside at the Toronto Raptors vs. LA Clippers basketball game on December 11, 2019. His love for Chrome Hearts only grew in 2020. In July of that year, he posted an Instagram story showing off his gold Chrome Hearts x Rolex watch. Chrome Hearts and Rolex have never had an official collaboration, so the piece was customized for Drake. The watch face is a Rolex Day-Date encrusted with diamonds, while the bracelet is Chrome Hearts. Drake also dresses his son Adonis in Chrome Hearts. On Adonis’ first day of school in September 2020, Drake posted a photo of him wearing a full Chrome Hearts outfit.
In May of 2021, Chrome Hearts and Drake had their first official collaboration. To promote Drake’s Certified Lover Boy album, the brand and rapper worked together to create Certified Lover Boy merch consisting of everything from hoodies to jade rollers. The merch was only released in Chrome Hearts’ Miami location, and they purposefully made a limited amount. Laurie Lynn explains the limited amount by saying that “[Drake] wanted things to be heirlooms and have them be coveted. He was very specific about having things that have longevity. Like, in 10 years, if someone says, ‘Oh, remember they did that Drake project? What were those few pieces that were made? How do you have one?’”
Similar to the Chrome Hearts x Rolex watch, Drake collaborated with Chrome Hearts on a personal custom product. This time it was a Rolls Royce Cullinan. Laurie Lynn said it was an “unusual” and “difficult” request. Chrome Hearts is known for making unique and odd products such as a toilet plunger, a mousetrap, and an ice cream scooper. Those products are all functional, but with a car, “The technical side is extremely complicated. You have to be up to standards and all that was difficult to pull off,” Laurie Lynn told GQ. Chrome Hearts was able to do it though. The car had fire retardant leather seats with Chrome Heart crosses and designs. Rolls Royce usually has a Spirit of Ecstasy bonnet ornament on the hood, but the Chrome Hearts car has three gothic Chrome Hearts crosses. The car was put on display at the Miami Institute of Contemporary Art for a short time period.
Clearly, Chrome Hearts does not cater to the average person but manages to speak to an audience of celebrities. Even though the average consumer will probably not buy from Chrome Hearts, the brand still gets exposure through public figures and a wide range at that. There are not many brands that designers, rock and roll bands, pop/rap artists, and models can all say they know and love. Although this article only covered a short list of celebrities that love Chrome Hearts, there are many more who have worn, collaborated with, and talked about Chrome Hearts.