How To Wear: Connell’s Chain
After the huge success of the book, and with a release date that coincided with an intense period of global indoor living, the TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People was always going to be a hit. It is thus unsurprising that the show’s stars, actors Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal, should similarly zip to the top of watchdogs' lists of ones-to-watch. What was less expected, however, was the runaway success of one of the show’s lesser ensemble cast: Connell Waldron’s unassuming chain necklace.
Not since Rose’s ‘Heart Of The Ocean’ in Titanic has an item of onscreen jewellery commanded such a thrall over its audience. To date, no inanimate object has ever won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and yet in the case of Connell’s chain (or @connellschain, the handle of the item's personal instagram fan account), it appears that such an accolade might be on the way.
Nestled between Paul Mescal’s handsome face and strapping torso, the thin silver necklace worn throughout the show has garnered almost the same publicity as its beguiling display stand. Smouldering with emotional intensity, Connell’s chain has elevated the status of the necklace to dizzying heights of drama, seduction and sentimentality.
A case in point - the countless think pieces that have already been penned on the subject. "I didn’t quite understand the destabilizing power of the chain until I watched Hulu’s Normal People,” writes Sangeeta Singh-Kurtz in New York’s The Cut. In an interview with The Guardian, the show’s costume designer Lorna Marie Mugan likened the chain’s significance to James Dean’s iconic 1950s white tee. The aforementioned fan account, @connellschain, currently boasts 143,000 followers and counting. Looking back, it appears that when Rihanna crooned about her love of chains back in 2011, she may well have had Connell’s future wardrobe in mind.
So how to pull off the style with Waldron-worthy success? Whilst Connell’s particular brand of brooding brawn might do it for some, as with any trend, the key to mastering the look is wearing it with your own personal twist.
Where Connell chose silver, those going for gold should look to one of Tom Wood’s gold-plated chains, easy to dress up or down (or undress, as the hero of Rooney’s story reminds us multiple times during the show.) For a chunkier choice, Alyx’s Matthew Williams similarly anticipated the trend, delivering the iconic silver chain with a choker-style finish, decorated with the brand’s signature buckle clasp. For a luxurious take on the look, LA-based Shay and the boys over at Hatton Gardens’ 777 deliver the finest in frosted accessories with their dusted diamond designs. If a simple silver chain is what you’re after, but prefer something with even more charm, Japanese brand AMBUSH offer versions embellished with pills, lighters, USBs and even a little cat face.
Whilst these chains can be worn with most outfits, both smart and casual, for maximum Rooney-approved mimicry, a furrowed brow and a melancholic stare into the middle distance should do the trick.
Words by Georgia Graham
Design by Ryan Duffus