When the cast of Suicide Squad was finally confirmed, everyone rejoiced at the thought of Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. The fan enthusiasm led to hundreds of Photoshop manipulations online, each featuring Robbie in various costumes. Some applied the jester suit, while others used the Arkham Asylum look. With such great potential, many saw the official costume as a disappointment.
On the bright side, however, Margot Robbie's demeanor makes the costume look amazing. The color scheme works, the accessories are comic-accurate, and she just looks stellar. Despite coming to love the costume, many fans still want to see what could've been.
Those fans are in luck, because Entertainment Weekly's Comic-Con issue sat down with Kate Hawley — Suicide Squad's costume designer — and showed off the character's potential looks, while discussing the themes behind the final costume.
Batman-News got an early look at the Comic-Con issue of EW, out July 22, and reported:
"Hawley said she got the idea for Harley’s costumes by looking at Instagram accounts of Mexican drug cartels and the attire that rock and roll icons like Debbie Harry, Courtney Love, and Patti Smith wore."
This is similar to Jared Leto's Joker, who David Ayer said was also influenced by the drug lords of Instagram. Hawley also explained how she wanted Harley’s sex appeal to be her own, and not to dress her in a way simply to please the Joker. Take a look at what could've been below.
Costume #1 — The Sack
The first costume we see is very weird, doing away with most of the recognizable aspects of the character (like the red/blue color scheme and various weapons). In all fairness though, this is likely Harley's prison outfit. The orange jumpsuit on the ground tells us one thing, but the sack she's wearing is pretty reminiscent of what we've seen her wearing in Belle Reve:
The only major difference is that the concept art's Harley has dyed hair while the movie version doesn't, but changes like that happen fairly regularly in the filmmaking process. The thigh tattoos remain, as does the lack of pants. The shirt also seems to be in better condition in the movie.
Prison costumes don't need much comic inspiration, so the movie took its own route from what prison-Harley usually wears. In the comics, she usually has a full orange jumpsuit or long shirt, like in the Arkham Knight comic:
Costume #2 — The New 52
The second outfit we see is more in tune with the comics, maintaining and putting emphasis on the red and blue pattern. Her tattoos are changed up a bit, both in location and design, but the signature baseball bat is present (without the Good Night written all over it). A "J" hangs off her top, obviously signifying the Joker's tumultuous relationship with her. She also has the "puddin" choker around her neck. The hair is dyed red and blue, but is grown out more than in the first image, exposing her blonde roots. And to complete the whole look, there's a gun strapped to her thigh.
The character's design clearly comes from the New 52, where Harley has a similarly skimpy red and blue design:
There's obviously some changes from the source, but the gist of the costumes remains. The corset is swapped out for a metallic crop top, the long boots are swapped out for normal boots and long socks, and the jacket is adjusted to match the red and blue scheme. The New 52 is when Harley joined the Squad, so we can probably expect some parallels between the two.
The Final Look
In Suicide Squad, the Harley Quinn we get looks like a perfect blend of these two pieces of concept art. She has the red and blue hair hair, tattoos all over, and some serious face paint. She may not be wearing a metallic bra or just a loose shirt, but she's wearing a ratty shirt underneath her red and blue jacket.
The point is: The cinematic costume takes elements from both designs, as well as a healthy dose of comic book inspiration. At the end of the day, we have the perfect Harley in an amazing costume, even though it's not from one place in particular.
And who knows, maybe that jester suit will show up at some point.
Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn makes her first appearance in Suicide Squad on August 5!