Watch out, Chrome Hearts! After success abroad, the Hoorsenbuhs hombres take on L.A.
Angeleno, December 2008
Robert G. Keith and Kether Parker are officially making a bid for the town’s rocknrolla regiments as their upstart label, Hoorsenbuhs, makes a high-profile debut this fall at Barneys in Beverly Hills. The SaMo-based line—pronounced, err, whores and booze, but named after a storied, mid-17th-century Dutch merchant ship—creates customizable, hand-cast rings and bangles that have already found their way onto the hands and wrists of Rihanna, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, David Beckham and Joaquin Phoenix (none of whom, by the way, were gifted).
The dudely duo first met along Topanga Canyon State Beach in the late 1980s. Keith, a NorCal native turned stylist/photographer, took some modeling test shots of just-out-of-high-school Malibu local Parker, and within a month got the latter signed to an agency. Thus commenced the latter’s decade-long Zoolander period, during which he strutted his surfer bod for Versace, Armani and Donna Karan and posed for Mario Testino.
Fast forward to 2006. Keith—who had begun designing Hoorsenbuhs two years earlier and had quietly grown it into a referral-only business—asked his longtime BFF to come aboard as the brand’s mouthpiece, with an eye, no doubt, toward leveraging Parker’s deep fashion-world rolodex. They’ve since expanded to ahead-of-the-curve boutiques in Paris, Monte Carlo and Manhasset, and will mark their local homecoming at Barneys with a trunk show on December 20.
Still, the base of their biz remains private clientele. “Our customers stop by the showroom regularly,” says Parker. (The showroom, in this case, is housed in a 1940s Quonset hut.) “They get their rings cleaned and tell stories. Rob’s their guy—just like in the old days, when you went down the street to the family jeweler.”
The Hoorsenbuhs aesthetic is chunky, but architectural, with an emphasis on pure gold and a trendily blingy penchant for pairing rose gold with black diamonds. For that not-quite-so-nouveau-riche look, they treat white gold bands and buckles with rhodium, which blackens the crevices.
Next up: A diamond merchant’s loop, for personal stone surveillance whilst shopping. It’ll come in a logo-embossed leather pouch, strung on a gold chain, meant to be worn across the body, according to Keith, like “a ’70s disco purse.” Really? “People are into things that emanate subtle power.” —AJ
Photos by Peden + Munk