Chrome Hearts - Rehab I
Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town
Chopper Chicks in Zombie Town is a trashy 1989 B-movie and shlock horror notable for two reasons – firstly, the chainsaw wielding, all-female biker gang that drive the zombie-killing action, and secondly, the first appearance of Richard Stark’s super-luxe, gem-studded leatherwear brand, Chrome Hearts. Named after the movie’s working title, the company that began in Stark’s L.A. garage would defy expectations, evolving to become a twenty-first century fashion dynasty with a unique rebel-edge.
A Harley Davidson aficionado with a penchant for head to toe leather, Stark had just made the move from selling leather to designing his own outfits when a producer friend called on him to create the costumes for his zero-budget biker flick. As luck would have it, one of the “Chopper Chicks” was the girlfriend of Sex Pistol, Steve Jones, who took a shine to Stark’s designs and ordered himself a custom-made wardrobe of silver-studded leather pants and jackets. Word got out. Soon, Chrome Hearts were working with world-famous arbiters of rock-star style, outfitting everyone from Aerosmith to Cher. Still working out of his Hollywood factory, Stark quickly diversified, branching into jewellery, furniture and eyewear – all with his signature gothic and gem-studded detailing. By eschewing seasons and maintaining a mysterious profile through limited and quixotic press interviews, Stark has built a new kind of fashion house, one that sneers at the term, Luxury. As he puts it, “I just try to use amazing materials, craftmanship, attention to detail, precious metals, precious gems… all that kind of shit”.
Made in Japan, Chrome Hearts Eyewear collection is one of the world’s most opulent, evoking the concept of eyewear as jewellery. Exotic woods, sterling silver trims, fine leathers and precious stones are used to create the sculpted metal charms and dagger motifs that define Chrome Hearts’ iconic design ethos. This use of avant-garde materials, combined with the latest innovations in optical technology, has created a unique and instantly recognisable collection. True to form, Stark chose to offset the luxuriousness of the designs by personalising each frame with its own rock’n’roll nametag.
The Rehab is a rare vintage sunglass that sums up the insouciance and rebel-edged glamour of Chrome Hearts. With a nod to the company’s original colour palette, the all-black frame front is a sharply-defined navigator shape with cut-away detailing on the bridge and end pieces. That bold simplicity is disrupted by the rock-star extravagance of the frame’s statement temples. Crafted in fine leather, the arms are embellished with cheetah print ponyskin and sterling silver trims, with sculpted daggers balanced by signature fleur-de-lis motifs on the hinges and temple tips. Including the original black lenses, this beautifully preserved, mint-condition, frame is fully adaptable for RX requirements. From the beginning, Richard Stark envisioned Chrome Hearts as a 150-year-old company, with the hopeful assertion, “I’d like to be around forever”. With the next generation of Starks now pushing fashion’s boundaries and breathing new life into Chrome Hearts’ historic collections, it looks like he might just get his own way.