Born and raised in the heart of Hollywood, Chrome Hearts has been a disruptive force in fashion channeling the spirit of West Coast bikers-gone-glam. Like all good stories behind successful start-ups, the brand was cooked up in a garage during the late ‘80s by founder Richard Stark, and has been a family-run business ever since. Despite garnering cult-favorite fervor for its gothic-inspired jewelry and legendary leather pieces, Chrome Hearts has managed to maintain the intimate feel of family-run, bespoke business—because even from its earliest days in a garage to the empire it’s built today, it has always simply been just that.
With a legacy of collaborations that includes the creative likes of The Rolling Stones, Comme des Garçons, Rick Owens, and Bella Hadid, the brand has solidified its status as a fashion brand with a priority for fueling dynamic and innovative partnerships. Merging together new and inventive perspectives with legendary brand classics, Chrome Hearts is the canvas upon which creativity finds itself flourishing.
Next to ink his name on the superstar roster is Matt DiGiacomo, an LA-based illustrator who has been long involved with the fashion family. With a style influenced by California culture, DiGiacomo is a bold and brash artist who is unapologetic with his work and singular in his vision. Teaming up with Chrome Hearts on his latest project, Sex Records, the collaboration has resulted in a limited-edition collection inspired by mod culture and the bright color combinations of the ‘80s. Ranging from riffs and remixes on classic Chrome Hearts style to a one-of-a-kind Vespa, the collection peers out on the “world through Matt’s eyes”.
On the heels of the collection’s release, L’Officiel had the opportunity to chat with the artist about how the Chrome Hearts collaboration came about, his creative inspirations, and casually, those handful of times he’s painted Birkins. Read on to get a glimpse of the auteuristic energy behind the Sex Records collaboration.
How did you first get involved with Chrome Hearts? What attracts to the company’s aesthetic?
I grew up in Malibu close to the family. I always liked what they were about, the company aesthetic. That’s a good question though, honestly, I never thought about their aesthetic, just always them as people.
How do you feel your artwork plays and interacts with the aesthetics of Chrome Hearts? Where do you see an intersection between the two?
I don’t really know how my artwork works with Chrome Hearts. The attitude was “We’re going to do this because we want to.” The intersection is more of a yield to the youth without trying to be so aware of it. My art is my art– if you like it, great– if not there’s Chrome Hearts classics over there.
Why did you choose to name the special collection “Sex Records”? What is the story behind that?
I always liked the word “sex,” it’s got all this good and bad with it. The story behind Sex Records– I’ll let you know when I find out– as of now, it’s a logo that could put people on edge.
For this collection, you’ve created a variety of products ranging from traditional apparel to even a custom Vespa. What inspired how you chose the pieces, particularly the more eclectic ones (Vespa, office chair)? What are your favorite pieces in the new collection?
I created the collection to kind of be a new-era mod experience. With that said, I wanted to create pieces of clothing that represented a time when people really cared about music and getting into record shops, figuring out who they liked, not what everyone else liked and walking away with a band t-shirt or record shop flare. The Vespa reflects the mod era and the way that those guys and girls would kit out their Vespas. And the office chair is something that I always like to do. They’re just great, literally an office chair that we recover and make into our own version.
Looking at your work, there are elements that appear reminiscent of West Coast skate culture and street art/graffiti. What inspires your artistic style, and how do you describe your work?
My style is the best reflection of the world I’ve seen, being aware of the things I pay most attention to, like lips and eyes, along with cartoon-inspired reflections that I grew up watching. I think you could say there is West Coast culture because I’m from here, but if you take a closer look it’s just about the story I want to tell with logos and characters that are mine and no one else’s.
You have added your illustrations to so many Birkins, giving one of the most iconic handbags your distinctive flair. What was the experience of painting the bags like?
Birkins are my favorite at the moment, not because of their price but because of their exclusivity, and then I add my art and Chrome Hearts hardware, and those are even harder for people to get their hands on. I want everything that I do to be exclusive and hard to find in a world where everything is so readily available.
How do you envision your relationship with Chrome Hearts in the future? Are you planning more collaborations or special projects?
After really building my own store at the Maxfield space, maybe that’s the next step, who knows? I’ll keep working and hopefully, everyone keeps an eye out and doesn’t miss what we’re doing over here.
Check out some product shots of the limited edition collection, available exclusively at Maxfield Los Angeles, below.