Christian Joy

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Costume by Christian Joy

Christian Joy (b. December 22, 1973 as Christiane Joy Hultquist) [1] is an American costume designer and artist best known for her stage costume designs for Yeah Yeah Yeahs lead singer Karen O. Using found articles and occasionally eschewing thread and print for glue and marker pens she has influenced contemporary fashion with punk and DIY stylings.


Christian Joy was born in Marion, Iowa, US. She started designing in Brooklyn, NYC in 2000. With no formal training in fashion design, she started creating one of a kind hand-painted/hand-sewn t-shirts and re-designing old prom dresses.[2] She met Karen O in 2001 and the aspiring singer soon became her favorite model. As the Yeah Yeah Yeahs began playing shows Joy designed a fresh outfit for each occasion.[3] As the band's fame grew so did Joy's reputation and, in Sep 2002, she mounted a solo show Brat Style during NYC Fashion week.[4]

As the Yeah Yeah Yeahs achieved international success Joy was able to pursue her designing work full-time.

In 2007 her costume designs were featured at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London as part of the New York Fashion Now exhibit.[1]

In 2008 Joy took on dressing UK band Klaxons persuading them to give up their trademark neon outfits. She collaborated with TopShop on three limited-edition collections, and released her first personal ready-to-wear garments.[5]

In Feb 2009 Joy had her first solo exhibition, The Visitors Must Be Amused, at the AVA gallery in NYC. Joy asked associates to write a description of a female being and then designed a costume representing each definition, including one of an alien goddess gown with a whip.[6]

In September 2009 Joy costumes were featured in a Where The Wild Things Are pop-up shop in Los Angeles.[7]

In 2011 Joy created the costumes for Stop the Virgens a "psycho opera" created by Karen O and KK Barrett[8]

In May 2012 Joy presented Do Androids Dream of Electric Shrimp? at the Diesel Art Gallery in Tokyo. The exhibition was a combination of past Karen O costumes, new "Kite Costumes", videos featuring Joy's designs and poster and textile prints.[9] In November 2012 the exhibition was moved to New York City, where it was held at Picture Farm Gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.[10]

Joy has also created costumes for Santigold and Danish singer/songwriter Oh Land.[11]

In September 2013 Joy mounted an art installation show Bok Joy at Secret Project Robot in Brooklyn.[12]


Joy received her first major press in the June–July 2003 issue of Nylon magazine in a feature article - 'Even Odds' written by Johanna Lenander - on her Karen O wardrobe.[1] In August 2003 Joy, in a Time profile, scoffed at her It girl status.[13] In July 2004 Joy and her designs were a key element of a The New York Times Sunday magazine feature about the growing influence of Indie Rock on fashion.[3] In June 2005 Joy was again featured in Nylon in an article entitled 'Quiet Riot'.[14] December 2005's ELLEgirl introduced Christian Joy as a guru of 'DIY' Fashion.[15] A follow-up piece in April 2006 re-inforced her status.[16]

In 2008 Joy contributed to Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna's book Cherry Bomb, mentioning John Waters as a style inspiration.[17]

In January 2010 Joy's costumes appeared in a photo spread in The Block's Fame issue. In the accompanying interview, Joy discussed abandoning mass fashion for the DIY approach of using Etsy as her exclusive store.[18] She is also featured in German fashion blog Two For Fashion.[19]

In February 2010 Christian Joy was featured on the cover of Time Out New York's, Most Stylish New Yorkers [20]

Stop the Virgens Press: T-Magazine, "The Look of Karen O's Psycho Rock Opera" by Katie Chang, Photos by Ioulex[21]

Do Androids Dream of Electric Shrimp? Press: The Japan Times, "Totally Wrapped In Joy" by Misha Janette and Samuel Thomas, Photo by Nick Zinner [22]


  1. ^ a b c "NEW YORK FASHION NOW / Celebrity". Victoria & Albert Museum. 2007. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  2. ^ "Funky art fashion: Christian Joy". Boing Boing. March 16, 2004. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  3. ^ a b Julia Chaplin (2004-07-25). "Indie Designers Pin Hopes (And Clothes) on Indie Singers". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-06-21. Ms. Joy met Karen O three years ago, when Ms. Joy was a saleswoman at Daryl K. "Karen saw this dress I had made called the Teenager Car Crash, that was like a black shredded prom dress with red paint that looked like blood," Ms. Joy recalled in her living room in Greenpoint, where she was sketching Japanese fold-up lanterns and medieval armor as studies for the outfits Karen O would wear on the David Letterman show. "All of a sudden they were playing out and doing interviews and photo shoots every week," Ms. Joy said. "I was making her stuff out of old newspapers or fabric from a dollar store. I just charged her enough to cover my costs."
  4. ^ "PUNKCAST#195 Christian Joy - 'Brat Style' - Spring 2003 - Spa NYC - Sep 4 2002". PUNKCAST. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  5. ^ Samantha Gilewicz. "JOY DIVISION". NYLON Magazine. Archived from the original on 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  6. ^ "The Visitors Must Be Amused". AVA Gallery. Archived from the original on 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  7. ^ "Luxcartel Catches Up With Christian Joy". blog. LuxCartel. September 4, 2009. Archived from the original on 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2009-09-05.
  8. ^ Lee, Amy (2012-03-03). "Behind The Scenes Of Karen O's Psycho Opera". Huffington Post.
  9. ^ "christian joy: do androids dream of electric shrimp?". 2012-05-28. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ White, Misty (2012-11-13). "Karen O's Costume Designer Christian Joy Presents First Ever Retrospective". Fashionista. Retrieved 2017-03-06.
  12. ^ crus, Araceli (September 13, 2013). "Costume Designer Christian Joy on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Her New Art Installation, and Liberace". Elle. Retrieved September 14, 2013.
  13. ^ George Epaminondas (August 28, 2003). "6. Christian Joy". Time. Retrieved 2009-06-21. Says Joy: "I ring up my mum and say, 'They're calling Karen a fashion icon, and she's got a fake mink hanging around her neck with button eyes!' It's stupid stuff."
  14. ^ "Nylon June/July 2005". The Fashion Spot. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  15. ^ DIY Fashion. ELLEgirl Dec 2005 - Jan 2006. p. 45. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  16. ^ "SO YOU WANT TO BE KAREN O..." ELLEgirl Apr 2006. p. 78. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  17. ^ "Cherry Bomb: Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna's Ultimate How-To for Budding Rock Chicks". LA WEEKLY. July 30, 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-27.
  18. ^ "Christian Joy". The Block. 2010-01-21. Archived from the original on 2012-09-12. Retrieved 2010-01-30.
  19. ^ Leist, Kathrin (January 8, 2010). "Christian Joy: Kostümdesign für Freiheitsliebende". Otto. Archived from the original on 2010-01-14. Retrieved 2010-02-06.
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ Chang, Katie (2011-10-12). "The Look of Karen O's Psycho Rock Opera". The New York Times.
  22. ^ Janette, Misha. "Totally wrapped in Joy". The Japan Times. Retrieved 2017-03-06.

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