As red carpet appearances go, it was definitely a matter of putting your money where your mouth is.
Turning heads — and possibly some stomachs — Angelina Jolie did what she does best, shocking the audience by wearing a metal chin cuff to the premiere of her latest movie.
The 14-karat gold gobsmacker, which was hooked into her lower lip and ran below her chin, was an unexpected addition to Angelina’s otherwise understated outfit.
But it’s not the first time she’s paraded an unusual decoration. After all, this is the woman whose idea of marital devotion was to wear a vial of her second husband Billy Bob Thornton’s blood around her neck.
So is this a strange but wonderful new direction for jewelry design, or just a quirk chosen to draw maximum publicity for Angelina’s new movie, Eternals?
She’s all mouth… Angie’s edgy look will have limited her air cushion all night – but will it catch on with the crowd, or just get caught on someone’s collar?
Baring her bling: Katy Perry, you’ve got something between your teeth. . . Oh, just colored diamonds worth tens of thousands
Material Grill: Madonna is no stranger to controversy seeking, owning thousands of pounds worth of sparkly face jewelry (left). Right, she shows her punky side without getting a piercing, Cara Delevingne has a collection of gold lip rings
Face Frame: From this full-face metallic ‘mask’ to gold grids on her teeth, Beyonce is always happy to make a feature of her mouth
Perhaps the most surprising thing about her mouthpiece is that, in fact, she’s not the first to wear the haircut.
British singer Paloma Faith was named the worst dressed guest after wearing a pair of gold chin rings at the Q Awards in London in 2017.
And Beyonce wore a larger version of Angie’s cuff from the same designer for her Spirit video. “This is a repeat of the face mask I made for Beyonce,” says Texas jewelry designer Nina Berenato. Nina says her creation was inspired by superheroes and Greek and Roman gods.
“These designs are removable accessories rather than a permanent piercing,” explains jewelry historian, expert and collector Beth Bernstein, who says the chin cuff is adjusted by pressing it into the contours of the face.
‘One of the goals of jewelry over time was to show your role in society. It has also been used as an amulet or talisman from ancient times to the present day,” Bernstein says. “And while wearing jewelry these days is more about individuality than showing your role in society, it’s still true that jewelry is meant to give beauty or meaning and complement, not distract from, your own natural beauty.”
Right, somewhere between a gold tooth and a grill, Rita Ora’s unusual oral addition is a relatively subtle take on the trend. Left, grillz just wants to have fun: Miley Cyrus’ dentist may be disappointed that she covered those pearly whites with a gold mouthguard
She’s hooked: Paloma Faith was ahead of the curve when she wore this fishhook-like decoration at the Q Awards pre-pandemic, but it didn’t win many fans
Lots of lip: Kim Kardashian loves a lip cuff, not to mention a set of dental diamonds
Kim Kardashian advertised her teeth accessories on Instagram
Metal Mouth: An AK47 forged in gold and arranged over your incisors? Only Rihanna could make it work
Rihanna showed off her dental diamonds on her Instagram page (pictured)
So what does she think of Angelina’s red carpet look? “Unfortunately, it’s not a pretty piece of jewelry — it just looks like she’s trying to hold her chin up.”
So why was Angelina wearing it?
‘It’s aggressive, it’s groundbreaking, but without permanently changing her appearance. She did something that would get people talking,” Bernstein says, before adding, “Although can Angelina really talk with this? Can she eat with it? It looks uncomfortable.’ More gobstopper than gobsmacker!
The slightly otherworldly lower jaw bracelet seems to borrow from the burgeoning celebrity trend for removable lip rings and grillz (tooth jewelry). Generally considered a hip-hop phenomenon, grillz actually dates back to the Etruscans in Italy in 800 BC.
Justin Bieber at the 2021 Met Gala. Beiber wore a £20,000 set with diamonds on his wedding day
24K Pout: Justin Bieber showed off a set of lavender diamond lattices when he married model Hailey Baldwin – he also owns two others
So maybe we shouldn’t be shocked that Kim Kardashian, Madonna, Rihanna and Miley Cyrus are fans – or that Justin Beiber wore a £20,000 set of diamonds on his wedding day.
Brand strategist Wizz Selvey thinks there may be even more to it: “After nearly two years of covering our mouths in masks, an expression and celebration of this area seems appropriate.”
And despite not being a fan of Angelina’s bauble, Beth Bernstein says the A-lister’s star power could mean they’re catching on.
“Everyone wants to tell a story with their jewelry – and her story is that she’s not playing it safe.
“Angelina may be able to push the boundaries of what is perceived as beautiful simply because she is beautiful.”
- Image researcher: Claire Cisotti