Karen Mabon – The Magic in the Mundane

From teddy bear picnics to panther birthday parties, Karen Mabon’s illustrative designs have always veered toward the fanciful.  And while her designs continue to have a dreamlike quality (who else could imagine a wedding party entirely comprised of cats) – her designs are truly at their best when rooted in the mundane. Mabon’s true talent is finding the magic in the minutia of everyday and it’s been the heart of some of my favourite designs from her over the years.  What’s so wonderful about her latest collection is that it feels like a conversation with your best friend about your favourite things – perhaps even the most idyllic weekend ever?  Mabon’s collection takes us from the Blue Planet inspired The Squid and the Whale to the Shelf Life car boot sale, all by way of a dachshund birthday party and an evening under the single bulb and a flurry of moths. Mabon’s designs don’t just hum with a whimsical energy as much as they sing.

While her recent expansion into homeware, swimwear and sleepwear – her scarves continue to be the true heart of her brand for no other reason than they truly allow you to get lost in the expansive world she creates.  Of course there are a million ways to wear a scarf – and of course, Mabon’s designs are made to be worn – but for me, they truly are at their best when you can fully appreciate them, hanging on the wall.  I still can’t help but feel a giddy delight when I unfold Robbery in a Sweet Shop and I hope every day she decides to bring back the Fancy Dress Cat Scarf. Clothes are great, I fucking love clothes but few things inspire as much joy as Karen Mabon. She might not have managed to figure out a way to quite bottle it yet, but her scarves are a way to enjoy a taste of it.


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