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trendspotting: circus maximus

by Grace Bonney


Photographs above by Laspata DeCaro, via Fashiontography

Summer’s over and trend roundup numero dos finds me wanting to run off and join the circus. Not exactly the Ringling Brothers or those human tortellinis at Cirque du Soleil, mind you. More like the harem of secret circus smugglers lead by Maud Adams in the early ’80s James Bond masterpiece Octopussy (ahem). The look channels gypsies, tramps and thieves with a candy-coated polish, not necessarily a water-squirting flower pin.

From a decorating perspective, perhaps my old ringmaster Mugatu says it best in the current House Beautiful: “Tents make people feel festive.” I go to sleep every night next to striped fabric walls; too bad I ran out of yardage for the ceiling. And I fully support the rebranding of clowns as harlequins! A black-and-white (or gray-and-white for the more reserved) diamond motif looks great painted on dingy wood floors or the walls of a powder room.

Top it off with a gyroscopic ring mobile overhead, some juggling balls in a glass bowl and an oversized rosette throw pillow on an otherwise staid sofa. Whimsical touches are popping up all over the accessories market — why else would Anthro’s designers trot out a papier-mâché elephant head? For more inspiration check out D*S editor Halligan Norris’ AMAZING circus-themed wedding. Send in the clowns! — Nick Olsen


Images above, clockwise from top left: Striped Awning, $257; Savannah Story Elephant Bust, $128; Orbit Mobile, $39.95; Rose Pillow, $34.95; Juggling Balls, $4.95–$8.95; Opening Night Rug, $88–$1198; Big Top Umbrella, $75; Harlequin Tole Chandelier Shade, $27; Bow-Tie Necklace, $20; Carnival Canes, $127 each

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