Cher and Anderson: Laurie Lynn Stark; Campbell and Cardi B with Offset: Tomás Herold; Hadid: Pierre Suu/Getty Images
Rihanna was in Japan a few years back, and she happened to be in the market for a designer meat cleaver. (Yes, you read that correctly.) Jahleel Weaver, the deputy creative director of Fenty and the star’s stylist, recalls her stopping at a Chrome Hearts store to buy both a meat cleaver and a stapler from the outré brand, whose products—a mousetrap, a plunger, a dagger—regularly break a certain sector of the internet. A Chrome Hearts–besotted doctor once had them design a bespoke stethoscope.
Cardi B and Offset are both fans of the brand. Here, Offset wears a Chrome Hearts ensemble at the 2020 Grammys.
What, you might reasonably ask, does this have to do with fashion? At first glance, not a lot. But Chrome Hearts is not like other fashion brands. Before Supreme was stamping its logo on bricks, Chrome Hearts had its own tongue-in-cheek take on everyday luxury. Its devotees are less a customer base than a family, and it helps that the brand is, itself, designed by a family. Dad Richard and mom Laurie Lynn Stark met cute in the ’80s when Laurie Lynn, then the self-described “wild child of the swimsuit industry,” was making leather bikinis (which she swears you could actually swim in). She ran into Richard, who was repping a leather brand. “He said, ‘Where are you buying your leather from?’ Which was a pickup line,” she recalls. Soon, they were creating their own leather-heavy designs out of an Upper East Side studio and what Laurie Lynn calls a “shithole in Santa Monica.” As at the Factory or Max’s Kansas City, “there was a whole culture being developed,” she says. “The photographers followed, and the supermodels with the photographers, and the rock stars.” They dressed them all: Cindy Crawford, the Rolling Stones, Guns N’ Roses, Pamela Anderson, and countless models in the pages of ELLE. “Then the supermodels married the rock stars and had kids.”
Frankie Belle and Jesse Jo Stark
Laurie Lynn Stark
“A baby could wear it; my grandma could wear it; Travis Scott could wear it.—Jesse Jo Stark”
The brand’s much-obsessed-over meat cleaver.
Courtesy of the…