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Jesse Jo Stark Has A Thing for Monsters

The real kind and the rhinestone kind.

Brooke James
Jesse Jo Stark Has A Thing for Monsters
Brooke James
Rachel Bickert
Lauren Doyle & Micah Goldfarb
Yasmin Istanbouli
Hair: Anthony Martinez with Paradia Agency using Balmain Hair

“Horrific hillbilly” is the phrase musician Jesse Jo Stark uses to describe the personal style phase that stuck after years of adolescent experimentation. It’s the same one she applies to her music. “A little bit of punk, a little bit of country,” she offers by way of explanation, likening the concept to a clash between the film Crossroads and a Blondie music video. After debuting her first single in 2017, Stark, 33, has crafted a space in the industry through stirring vocals and a haunting stage presence. To accentuate the latter, she deploys a few fashion signatures, namely a bedazzled loincloth.

“I like to be comfortable and kind of naked,” she reflects. Despite her respect for the profession, “I've never believed in having a stylist… I'm just so picky.” A fashion novice, however, she is not. Heir to the Chrome Hearts throne thanks to her renowned parentage, Stark grew up in a leather factory crafting amateur projects, adhering scraps together with a stapler. Though her parents never pressured her to participate in their Chrome Hearts, an American luxury brand known for its rock n roll biker aesthetic, Stark has evolved into the creative director and a designer for the brand over the years. “I've gone through different stages of wanting to identify through the brand, and now, at this age in my life, I've realized that it's my blood.” (Stark also designs her own merch line DEADLY DOLL.)

You’ll see that manifested in the Chrome Hearts “Sugar Jones” (designed by Stark with a title that pays homage to her childhood nickname) boots she rotates through on stage. When Stark opened for Post Malone this past New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas, she wore a pair of these boots in inky black leather with an original Bob Mackie look passed down from her godmother Cher. “I waited so long to ask her to borrow anything,” Stark laughs. “She said, ‘If it fits, it's yours.’" Stark tempered the shimmer and sheen with an onstage mainstay: a pair of studded Michael Schmidt cuffs fashioned after a pair of her mother’s originally made for Madonna. “I'm such a softy for a memory,” the musician continues, “so everything in my closet has a specific meaning.” That doesn’t mean everything boasts a Hollywood provenance; sometimes, it’s simply a blazer scored from a thrift store in high school.

Stark laces the glitz and glam with an eerie undercurrent, a notion apparent in her tour closet. Ghoulish trinkets litter the space between feather boas and rhinestone loincloths, revealing her penchant for vintage films and horror themes. “I collect any skeleton or bone [themed] thing. Not real ones,” she clarifies. “Fabulous ones. Rhinestone ones.” A Frankenstein lamp, a gift from her father, presides over her wardrobe at all times—you turn it on and off by switching the bolts in his neck.

“I love people, but I think there's a bit more of an escape with monsters,” Stark explains. “I love fantasy and the idea that there's another world, something that takes you outside of yourself.” Despite its more fantastic elements, Stark’s closet isn’t her favorite place to be. She doesn’t take fashion too seriously, especially offstage, where she’s most comfortable in Ugg boots and jeans (she grew up in Malibu, after all). “If I try to rebel against what I'm feeling, it doesn't end well,” she says. “I tend to dress easily if I have nowhere to go, so I probably look my most fabulous inside my house.” Doubtful if you’ve clocked the loincloths. With the release of her new single, fittingly titled “Skeleton,” Stark invited Coveteur to invade her tour closet and take a look at her collections of monster paraphernalia and rhinestone-embellished favorites.

Editor-in-Chief (at Large): Jenna Lyons/ Fashion Editor (at Large): Sarah Clary/ Art Director: Smiley Stevens/ Managing Editor: Hilary George-Parkin/ Casting Director: Yasmin Coutinho/ Executive Producer: Marc Duron

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