Chrome Hearts eyewear
This obsessive attention to every last detail is no surprise, considering that Chrome Hearts eyewear is a collaboration between two single-minded retail visionaries: Chrome Hearts founder Richard Stark, and Larry Sands, founder of legendary US eyewear chain Optical Shop of Aspen. Stark, a former leather dealer, started out in the 1980s making bespoke leather gear for his biking friends and costumes for B-movies. His designs became a word-of-mouth hit among California’s rock elite or, as he puts it: “[The Sex Pistols’] Steve Jones introduced us to The Cult, The Cult introduced us to Heart, Heart introduced us to Aerosmith, and on and on.” With Stark’s art director wife Laurie Lynn on board, the designs were refined into a coherent line of products, which soon caught the eye of boutique owners, magazine editors and fashion gurus including Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, who showcased the brand in her famed Aoyama store.
Along with slick design and exquisite fabrics, its high-end hardware gave Chrome Hearts an opulent edge. Every stud, zip and fastening was beautifully made – sculpted or engraved with the crosses, daggers and ornate domed studs that have since become the brand’s signature. A line of handcrafted, luxury jewellery soon followed and was an overnight success – in 1992, Chrome Hearts was named Accessories Designer of the Year by the prestigious Council of Fashion Designers of America.
When he heard that Stark was branching into eyewear, glasses guru Larry Sands knew they’d be a match made in heaven. A long-time rock fan, Sands had even played in his own band, opening for Led Zeppelin and Gram Parsons several decades earlier. Since leaving his musical career behind him he had opened the first chain of specialist eyewear boutiques in the US, dealing to the rich and famous of the 1970s in much the same way that Richard Stark did a decade later, and expanding across the country in the 1980s and 1990s. He had been a fan of Chrome Hearts since its launch, saying: “Chrome Hearts represents everything I have always loved about life. All the leather, great jewellery… The complete rock ’n’ roll lifestyle, which I have always lived.” He describes his eyewear partnership with the brand as “the crowning glory of my career” – and has poured his decades of knowledge, expertise and out and out obsession into the Chrome Hearts eyewear line.
The tie-up has worked just as well for Richard Stark, of course. Sands might have first-hand knowledge of the hedonistic world inhabited by many a Chrome Hearts client, but he is also known for his strong work ethic, perfectionism, exacting standards and refusal to compromise on any aspect of his business. As a result, Chrome Hearts eyewear is one of the most exclusive, luxurious and opulent lines of glasses and sunglasses on the planet. In the words of Larry Sands: “If you go all out, the consumer just knows the eyewear and the experience of buying it and wearing it is worth it.”
Regular Price: $1,054.68
Special Price: $394.68