If anyone was under the illusion that lollipops were just for kids, Fendi artistic director Kim Jones is here to disabuse them. Alongside the Aran knitwear, mink and shearling that featured in the brand’s AW24 show, the designer included a series of Chupa Chups lollipop holders, worn as necklaces and looped around bags. Constructed from the brand’s signature Selleria leather, these luxurious baubles were ridiculous but fun. They did what any quirky accessory on the runway is meant to – generate publicity and consumer desire. 

A Fendi x Chupa Chups leather lollipop holder charm, £470, on a bag
A Fendi x Chupa Chups leather lollipop holder charm, £470, on a bag

The holders also marked the latest coup for the Spanish lollipop maker, which was founded in 1958 and acquired by Italian Dutch company Perfetti Van Melle in 2006. The brand’s logo was designed by Salvador Dalí and its lollies have been endorsed by the likes of Kate Moss, Madonna and the 1998 World Cup-winning French football team. The Chupa has always been a better class of lolly.

Chupa Chups’ success reflects a wider boom in lollipops. While kids remain the primary market, US market research shows about a third of baby boomers and two-thirds of Gen Z and millennial consumers now purchase lollipops on a regular basis. Healthy sales owe in part to premium and speciality versions. Alongside classic fruit flavours such as apple, strawberry and orange, you can now suck on nine-million-Scoville “Toe of Satan” chilli lollipops (flamethrowercandy.com); cosmopolitan and margarita alco-lollies (like those from hollyslollies.co.uk) and functional suckers, such as those made by 8Greens, packed with spinach, kale and chlorella. Depending on their location, US consumers can also buy lollipops infused with CBD or THC.

Amborella Organics x Marc Jacobs fig & roses seed-bearing lollipop
Amborella Organics x Marc Jacobs fig & roses seed-bearing lollipop
Flamethrower Candy Toe of Satan lollipop, $7

Flamethrower Candy Toe of Satan lollipop, £7

8Greens Super Greens lollipop, $16 for 10

8Greens Super Greens lollipop, $16 for 10

Of course, lollies have long been cultural signifiers, from Lolita to Kojak, but on TikTok lollipops have become a prism for a whole range of antics, from ASMR lickers to more wholesome #candymeup-pers to fans dancing along to lollipop anthems by Puerto Rican rapper Darell or J-pop boyband Lil League. It was on TikTok that I first discovered Amos music lollipops, which use bone conduction to enhance the experience of listening to tunes. Consuming one is like having a small transistor radio in your cheek that tastes of candy.

At the prestige end of the market, California-based Amborella Organics produces botanical lollipops in flavours such as strawberry and basil, vanilla and hibiscus and blood orange and elderflower. Each lolly contains an heirloom flower or herb on a seed-bearing stick; they were originally conceived to help kids develop an understanding of nature. Over time, however, the company has developed a following among 20- to 35+-year-olds who are drawn to its natural flavours and sustainable outlook. Companies like Google, Armani Beauty, Marc Jacobs and L’Oréal hand them out as gifts. Amborella is about to launch a watermelon and chilli lime lollipop with the Frida Kahlo Corporation that grows into a Mexican thumb watermelon. “It’s the experience, the nostalgia that transports people back to being a kid,” says co-founder Taylor Clarke of their appeal. “Receiving one sparks happiness and joy.” 

@ajesh34

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