Sunday, June 4, 2023

The ‘clowncore’ trend rocked by Harry Styles and Lady Gaga is no joke

fashion and beauty

March 29, 2023 | 3:17 pm

Send over the clowns, we’re selling pink lips for red noses.

In an era of bulky silhouettes, bloated accessories and They Big Red Boots are down for the designer clowns.

Clowncore – almost-ridiculous renditions of recognizable clown motifs – is rife on the Cirque du runways and Fashion Circus’ ringmasters are taking the theatrical trend to new heights.

#Clowncore has garnered over 496 million views on TikTok and is more than just an ode to Harlequin. Some brands’ latest lines walk a tightrope between camp and opulence.

Take BODE’s Jenny Onesie, Chanel’s Spring 2023 showman top hats and neck bows or Harry Styles’ checkered glitter one-piece, worn by Michelle Williams at the Grammy Awards. Even Armani Privé’s Spring 2023 couture line sparkled with bazaar elegance in checkered ruched collars, tulle accents and diamond embellishments.

Of course, it helps that Lady Gaga has stepped into the role of the infamous Harley Quinn for “Joker: Folie à Deux.” And like the barbiecore next to the “Barbie” movie, life often imitates the big screen.

If they’re any indication that zany has entered the zeitgeist, then clowns are the new chic.

“Clowncore allows everyone to be in on the fun,” fashion TikToker Kelly Heyer told the post. “It’s like saying on the runway, ‘Look how gorgeous and exaggerated and ridiculous I look!’

Moschino, known for its kitsch, experimented with the jester motif as seen on Bella Hadid.
Danielle Venturelli / WireImage
Styles rocked a plunging, checkered jumpsuit at the Grammy Awards.

“The world is scary right now,” said the New York content creator. “People are hidden. We’ve spent so long isolated and given time to think about who we are.

This trend doesn’t last for Bozos though.

Christopher John Rogers’ Pre-Fall 2023 collection, while elegant silk frocks paired high-brow, amusingly red noses on models, some of whom wore comically-high headpieces.

Ruffled collars and diamond shapes, clowncores most commonly, were part of Armani Privé’s collection.
WWD via Getty Images
In addition to bold silhouettes, Rogers elevates the looks — and makes them quite literal — by adding clown makeup and even a bright red nose.

The celeb-favorite designer also added extreme silhouettes — from teeny corset waists to oversized, parachute pants and dresses — in nods to historic jokester Pierrot, who was notorious for his painted face and tufted collar to match.

Rogers also included a satin, roomy front with large button embellishments, a unique take on a collar ruffled to look like a blossoming flower; and classic diamond harlequin geometry.

Lady Gaga is starring in the “Joker” sequel and was seen rocking Harley Quinn makeup on the set.
Jose Perez /
Styles looks great in Joker chic.
Getty Images for HS

He also experimented with geometry – circle cut-outs, stripes, checkers and color blocking – and sky-high headpieces, as well as baggy suits and ballooning hips that mimic those of a clown. Even the makeup and accessories have an air of tomfoolery: bright blue eye shadow, a bold lip and even on some models, a bulbous red nose.

“I love the wide range of emotions the characters can represent,” Rogers told Elle.

“I always look to stock characters like Pierrot for inspiration, and we thought it would be a lovely addition to add fabric flowers to the center front,” he said.

And “it” girls — fashionistas, not “it” clown Pennywise — are paying attention, as items like Lowe’s $1,100 Balloon Pump go viral.

Rogers’ exaggerated shoulders and hips add to the caricature fashion trend.
Clowncore, as performed by Rogers, is a joyous celebration of color, shape and silhouette.

But clowncore surrealism may just be the latest installment of the surrealism that’s on the runways this season. the “puff-ification” of Prada cult classics; Collina Strada’s Ethical Animal Prosthetics; And Wonderland-esque haute couture gowns are just part of fashion’s fickle wave.

The clowning here and there, Heyer suggested, serves more as an escape from our grim reality than a reflection of it – or a bit of comic relief.

Chanel’s top hats and neckties exemplified high-brow entertainment.
Getty Images

Heyer said, “I see the rise of clowncore as our desire to be silly and grandiose and funny as things grow around us.”

“We need to find happiness somewhere and I think wearing these clothes, this costume of a clown, allows us to be the character and express our happiness.”

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