Harlequin Romance

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Be it comic or divine, the fashion world is transfixed with the Harlequin. In addition to larger houses like Miu Miu or Dolce & Gabbana, a number of independent designers are also playing the clown by employing the iconic diamond motif. Matthew Ames, Karen Walker, Bruno Pieters, and Sass & Bide have all referenced the harlequin in recent seasons. Some (like Pieters) opted for monochrome palettes, coy references to harlequin collars, and cropped jackets instead of riots of color. Others, Sass & Bide included, presented a straightforward take on the Italian jester.
Away from threads and seams, Spanish designer Jaime Hayón has teamed up with the ceramics outfit, Lladró, for The Fantasy Collection, a new line of kitschy ceramic figurines at this year's Salone de Mobile. Less threatening than the clown that showed up in Studio Job's "Robber Baron" series last year, the collection touches on the fashion world's new favorite buffoon.
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Both the fashion and design worlds are innamorati with all things Baroque, particularly the theatricality of the period. Irony and irreverence are matched with over-the-top opulence ( the lapidary faucet system Marcel Wanders designed for Bomoni, Fuse project's new iteration of the The Jawbone). Here we see the harlequin pattern in bas relief, adding texture, weight, and drama.
Unsurprisingly, Hayón's most recent collaboration with Camper produced a shoe fit for a clown available in candy colors with diamond-patterned soles. In a mind boggling instance of cross-marketing, many of the Lladro figurines appear to be wearing his Camper shoes—no joke!
Amber Bravo is a senior editor at Dwell magazine.
Collage by Suzy Kim