Call me by your chain: Timothée Chalamet’s magpie tendencies started with the Star of David neck charm Oliver gifts Elio in Luca Guadagnino’s emotionally raw and devastatingly beautiful coming-of-age romance, and spiralled from there. He’s rarely photographed without a mishmash of metal chains snaking up his wrists and around his neck, and favours talking-point pieces from Louis Vuitton, Vivienne Westwood and Cartier for his avant-garde, often androgynous red-carpet appearances.
While his friendship with the former Virgil Abloh-led fashion house saw him break the internet in an embellished bib (don’t call it a harness!), Chalamet’s ambassadorship for the latter jeweller has been nothing less than a joy for fellow magpies behold. At the 2020 Oscars, the American actor pinned a Cartier Tradition brooch, dating back to 1955, onto the chest of his Prada Re-Nylon jacket, as he waved the flag for what a sustainable notion of Hollywood glamour could look like.
The Dune press tour that followed saw a hat trick of delicate, futuristic Cartier pins—a smoky quartz cabochon-dotted Insecte Bionique brooch dating back to 1999, a platinum design from 1913 adorned with diamonds and pearls, and a third vintage style in 18k white gold, diamonds and onyx cabochon—as Chalamet gave his co-star and Bulgari face Zendaya a run for her money in the haute accessory stakes.
Among his most recent Cartier acquisitions? A Tank à Vis double time zone watch from 2002, a Hawk’s Eye Santos Dumont ring, a white gold onyx Tank ring, a suite of Panthère de Cartier pieces, and a Love ring—in short, a veritable tick list of the heritage house’s most famous and coveted trinkets, each evoking its own special sort of symbolism. The Love line? Well, it was controversially inspired by chastity belts and suggests enduring romance. The Tank, meanwhile, is rooted in the history of WW1, when Louis Cartier was inspired by the new Renault tanks deployed on the Western Front. Chalamet, who enjoys the role playing aspect of fashion (check out his first solo male British Vogue cover), certainly knows his Just un Clou nails from his poetic Trinity bands.
Vivienne Westwood, on the other hand, provides the star with figurative pieces rooted in her signature dark humour. Take the diamanté-flecked femur choker Timothée wore to the Bones and All London premiere with his milky Alexander McQueen suit. It looked simultaneously blinged-out and bloodthirsty, as the necklace cut right to the, ahem, bone regarding the cannibal drama’s subject matter. Weeks later in Milan, he accessorised a heart-printed sweater with another frighteningly literal choker, featuring sweet strings of tiny pearls held together by, yep you guessed it, bones. Emo doesn’t even cut it.
Chalamet’s penchant for pretty and emotive things heightens his charm as a heartthrob of a generation. Like Harry Styles, fans hang off his every treasure (remember the teeny-tiny Eiffel Tower he strung around his neck during the Little Women press tour?). Timothée’s jewellery box tells us precisely everything and nothing about a twenty-something who lives a transient life between hotels and takes his craft very, very seriously. In terms of poster boys, brands couldn’t ask for better publicity.
If 2019 saw a 192 per cent spike in searches for hoodies after Chalamet wore a Louis Vuitton sweater dripping with 3,000 Swarovski crystals and 15,000 sequins, there’s bound to be a whole host of youngsters rifling through car boots for similar outfit adornments or saving for investment pieces which, in comparison to the fast fashion promoted by other Gen-Z pin-ups, is no bad thing. Bones or beetles? Take your pick.
This article was originally published on British Vogue.