Back in February we got a context-free look at Lady Gaga as Harley Quinn in Joker: Folie à Deux. That photo didn’t show anything of Gaga’s Harley look except smeared lipstick and an ecstatic expression, so it was hard to tell what her version of Harley will look like beyond “intense”.
Now, though, we have a clear look at Gaga in character on the set of Joker 2 in New York City over the weekend. On Saturday, she was seen filming in a red and black outfit with a toned-down version of Harlequin-inspired makeup. This whole look calls back to Harley’s aesthetic in the classic Batman: The Animated Series, where the character made her debut in the 1990s (the current look on the VERY good Harley Quinn animated series on HBO Max is a combination of Harley’s classic red and black outfit and the pink and blue scheme introduced by Margot Robbie’s live-action version).
I have to say, I really like Harley’s look here. It’s sort of a thrift store take on what Harley Quinn would look like as a “real” person. That is the visual energy of Joker, with Arthur Fleck in a department store suit that nonetheless uses a color scheme familiar for the character. This is a smart costume design because within the world of Joker, it does look like something a woman could actually pull out of her closet, and in the real world, it’s extremely easy to copy for Halloween and cosplay, et cetera. That’s important! It’s part of the branding of the character, and it drives fan engagement when people can easily (and cheaply) dress as that character for fun. I expect to see a LOT of this Grunge-inspired Harley during Halloween 2024 (the movie isn’t due until next year).
On Sunday, we also got to see Dr. Harleen Quinzel in her everyday clothes. Joker takes place in a 1980s version of Gotham City, and based on Gaga’s costumes, it looks like we’re jumping into the 90s. The dress and tights combo is hitting my early 90s memory of the dELIA*s catalog arriving, full of baby doll dresses. The coat reads vintage, unless that IS crushed velvet, in which case: 90s (though influenced by 70s nostalgia).
So, this is a Grunge-era Harley Quinn, who is having a public altercation/ makeout session with a woman who looks like she’s part of the Moral Majority. …I don’t hate this. Oh no, what’s happening? Am I LOOKING FORWARD to the Joker sequel???
Also attached - Joaquin Phoenix on set.