Timothée Chalamet Performs, $400K in Murakami Jewelry Sells Out in 4 Minutes at ComplexCon

Timothée Chalamet - H 2019
Courtesy of Complex

Headliner Kid Cudi and Lil Yachty snapped up $50K necklaces with a bejeweled pendant in the shape of Murakami’s famed Kaikai Kiki flower, a collaboration with L.A.-based jewelry designer Ben Baller.

The stars came out as ComplexCon kicked off its fourth annual festival in Long Beach Nov. 2-3. Pharrell Williams and Japanese fashion designer/DJ/entrepreneur Nigo popped by the Billionaire Boys Club booth while LL Cool J, Offset, Euphoria actress Storm Reid and actress-producer Yara Shahidi (who spoke on a Gen Z-themed panel together), Lil Yachty, Usher (shopping with his sons), Chance the Rapper, Steve Aoki and more hit the convention center floor to check out the latest streetwear and sneaker drops.

After Lil’ Kim warmed up the crowd with a string of classic hits Saturday night, the biggest surprise may have been actor Timothée Chalamet’s sudden appearance onstage to recite the words narrated by Common on Kid Cudi’s song “In My Dreams” from the 2009 Man on the Moon: The End of Day album as an intro to Cudi’s set.

As Selena Gomez watched from the side stage, Chalamet read: “In this world, being a leader is trouble for the system we are all accustomed to. Being a leader in this day and age is being a threat. Not many people stood up against the system we all call life. But toward the end of our first 10 years into the millennium, we heard a voice. A voice who spoke to us from the underground. A voice who spoke of vulnerabilities and other emotions never before heard to vividly and honest. This is a story we are all accustomed to. This is the story of the man who believed not just in himself, but in his dreams too. This is the story of the man on the moon.”

Among the weekend’s big spenders were Cudi and Lil Yachty, who snapped up Takashi Murakami x Ben Baller limited-edition necklaces, with a bejeweled pendant in the shape of Murakami’s famed Kaikai Kiki flower (offered in two colorways) on 18-karat gold Italian-inspired link chains, for $50,000 each. Cudi bought one of each color, dropping over $109,000 on the spot, while Yachty went for a rainbow colorway.

L.A.-based jewelry designer Baller, who runs the shop IF & Co. inside Beverly Center, which has catered to Cudi, Elon Musk, Kaia Gerber, Justin Bieber, The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky, John Mayer and the late Michael Jackson — and who happens to be the brother of A-list Hollywood stylist Jeanne Yang — spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about the seven-piece collection, which sold out just four minutes after it was unveiled on Saturday.

Baller had teased the pieces on social media in advance and had been flooded with DMs and emails, including some from “major A-list celebrities,” but it was first come, first serve with cash in hand at the drop. Other buyers included a cannabis entrepreneur and a man with a full-sleeve tattoo of Murakami flowers on his arm, says Baller.

The $100,000 version of the necklace — sold to a man from China in his twenties who instantly wired over a $50,000 deposit — is crafted of all white-on-white VVS-1 or better diamonds. The two versions of the $50,000 necklace (three of each) include one embellished with AAA-grade black diamonds and purple amethyst and an alternate rainbow (encrusted with two gradient colors of canary-yellow diamonds, rubies, emeralds, pink and blue sapphires, baby blue ice diamonds and amethyst). All of the pendants are a fidget spinner design “on ball bearings that spin like crazy,” says Baller.

Baller’s affiliation with Murakami, whom he calls “a true living legend,” started a few years ago after shared clients requested commissioned jewelry pieces that showcased Murakami’s artwork. Last year, a collab design of the “Happiness Panda,” a pendant covered in diamonds and multicolored jewels on a white-gold link chain, went to Latin musician J Balvin for $560,000.

“This is Murakami’s first jewelry collaboration,” says Baller, who only takes custom commissions over $250,000. “And I’m super grateful because I know he could easily have done this with Harry Winston or Tiffany & Co. or Cartier. Auction houses are already calling and offering almost double, $80,000 to $100,000, for the $50,000 version.”

(Incidentally, five limited-edition $5,000 skate decks in Murakami designs, each embellished with over 13,000 Swarovski crystals in a rainbow of 22 hues, also sold out within a few minutes on Saturday morning.)

After the lightning-speed jewelry blowout, Baller says he and Murakami sat down at ComplexCon to chat about future collaborations. “He’s like, ‘Think man, 50 years from now, this is in the history books,’” Baller says.