Interview

Game of Thrones Costume Designer Michele Clapton talks Westeros fashion, Margaery’s dress with Vanity Fair

Costume Designer Michele Clapton recently spoke with Vanity Fair about the glamorous fashion of Westeros. In this new interview Clapton explains that her experience in modern design has helped in creating the many intricate looks for Game of Thrones. Clapton also goes into detail about one of the most anticipated costumes for Season 4, Margaery’s wedding gown, and recounts that one dress in Season 2 that raised a few eyebrows.

On where she looks for inspiration and how she approaches the many families of Westeros: “I look at contemporary fashion and art, it’s a two way street. I sometimes see each city as [a] collection. I used to work in fashion many years ago. I’m glad I don’t now, but it is, of course, an influence still.”

On Margaery’s Season 4 wedding gown: “I’m pretty pleased with Margaery’s dress . . . it took weeks . . . months even, with all the roses and embroidery, and the bias cut was hard to achieve with the cutaway elements that are essential for her style . . . I wanted it to be pretty, but on closer inspection, strong and to tell the story of her ambition . . . the crowns particularly tell this.”

On that very memorable dress we met Margaery in at the beginning of Season 2: “Margaery’s funnel dress was obviously an homage to the wonderful Alexander McQueen’s costume for Bjork. It just felt right that this young ambitious girl would be experimenting with shapes, honing her style skills which we now see her employing to great effect. It was a risk and divided the audience.”

On seeing her influence on the runway: “Of course it was flattering to be referenced, but that’s what fashion does, and then it moves on. I did try to borrow a dress for the Emmys from the designers mentioned, but they said no. Thanks a lot!”

Read the full article at VanityFair.Com!

33 Comments

  • ”Jon Snow wouldn’t last a day north of the Wall sporting the skimpy outfits favored by the Tyrell family of sunny Dorne.” DORNE? smh.

  • Ivan,

    You wouldn’t think Joanna Robinson would make such gaffes, considering she is the book authority on her own Game of Thrones podcast.

  • I always LOL so hard every time I remember what she said about designing Brienne’s pink Harrenhal dress for season 3.

  • A lot of people hated that funnel dress. I sure wouldn’t wear it. But it was perfect for the character. The Tyrells are by Westeros standards nouveau riche and new money tends to be tacky.

  • ““I look at contemporary fashion and art” ~Clapton
    And there is her biggest problem with costuming in the show. Her cone of shame dress on Margaery the biggest example of fail.

    Her womens costumes have been few and far between in success. The mens costuming far better.

    Contemporary for this setting is something that should be used as seasoning not as the hearty bits of the design. You want better inspiration look to history as this is thematically a fantasy inspired by history of the medieval.

  • Hand of the Kingslayer,

    I’m not a new visitor, I just rarely comment. :-/

    Ser Boom Boom, this is what she said:

    …but actually we also wanted to make Brienne look good, not because she wanted to but actually in spite of herself!

    [The dress] is tight across the bust revealing a bit of cleavage which is mortifying to her and she tries to hide it. We actually see for the first time that she has a great shape and I wanted Jaime to be surprised. She thinks she looks ridiculous but she doesn’t.

    This sounds more like the plot of “She’s All That.” The pink dress wasn’t supposed to look flattering on Brienne but whatever, it’s done. Heh

  • Is the royal wedding gonna be in the first episode? Because if the big event will happen in episode 9 just like past seasons, then that means that Tyrion is gonna be in prison almost the whole season.

  • I agree. I thought I was the only one! I understand everyone involved in costuming (in every department) works so hard and do their very best, these are hardworking folks. But I always hated the hair and dresses on this show. The men definitely fair better, but not much (see Stannis and that awful scale thing Brenden Tully wears in the Rob chewing him out scene, ugh)

    It’s very surface level thinking…”oh, Tully’s sigil is a fish, so it will be scales…” That kind of thing on the show costuming. I don’t know how to put it into words, but there’s nothing inspiring.
    Wolfheart,

  • RoderickThe13:
    Is the royal wedding gonna be in the first episode? Because if the big event will happen in episode 9 just like past seasons, then that means that Tyrion is gonna be in prison almost the whole season.

    The episode 9 event is the battle, or rather the battles at the Wall.

  • You mean like in the books … where Loras Tyrell has flowers on his armor and a cape of REAL flowers? Or helmets with antlers and armor with roaring lions’ faces?

    You know … like IN THE BOOKS?

    mal:
    I agree.I thought I was the only one!I understand everyone involved in costuming (in every department) works so hard and do their very best, these are hardworking folks.But I always hated the hair and dresses on this show.The men definitely fair better, but not much (see Stannis and that awful scale thing Brenden Tully wears in the Rob chewing him out scene, ugh)

    It’s very surface level thinking…”oh, Tully’s sigil is a fish, so it will be scales…” That kind of thing on the show costuming. I don’t know how to put it into words, but there’s nothing inspiring.
    Wolfheart,

  • Having Michelle Clapton as a designer for “Game Of Thrones” has been a win-win. She’s done a remarkable job on such a big show with an ever expanding cast. I for one am glad to have her on-board!

    Now if we could only get Gemma Jackson back, things would be even better!

  • Wolfheart,

    This.

    I hate how modern and tone-breaking some of the dresses are. Like Dany running around in a desert, with people wearing robes and period clothing and she’s just prancing around in a stylish low-cut dress you could see anyone wearing out in the street.

    Martin always describes the clothes being very medieval and grounded in reality, and then we get shit like cone woman. I feel like people would laugh at her just as much on the streets of King’s Landing then here.

  • Wolfheart,

    I think the hairstyles are the worst, to be honest. It’s like they don’t want to experiment with anything except braids. I think it’d be nice if they played around with accessories and stuff, to make things different. I can understand why braids are important for Dany, but you could definitely do something different for Cersei, Margaery, Catelyn, Sansa etc.

  • How unfair of the Helmut Lang- designers, stealing her designs and then refusing to lend a dress to her. She should sue them!

  • One of the things that really sets GoT apart from other fantasy shows is the use of “real” (i.e. current) fashion. I remember someone involved with Sex and the City bemoaning the use of “fake” fashion in so many shows, and when you do pay any attention to fashion at all you can really tell when the costume designers of any production a) know what they’re doing and b) are allowed to be creative and not yoked to some prescribed historical fashion set. I find it extremely awesome to see so much currency and modern creativity put into Thrones costume design.

    I don’t want to see authentic medieval styles any more than I want to drink authentic Prohibition cocktails. In both cases the original versions were made from very un-exciting materials (very rough cloth, revolting bathtub gin) and the modern versions are far more delicious. Give me bias-cut gowns and green tea infused vodka any day.

  • Liz,

    I think you are really selling the hairstyles short. Yes, many of them feature or include braids, but each lady very much has her own style and braids are only a part of it. Even Arya’s supposed dagger haircut in S1/2 was pretty cool.

  • Blind Beth,
    I think it’d be nice if they expanded their choices, rather than do several variations on one single thing. Again, I understand the symbolism of using braids for Dany, but I think other characters like Catelyn, Margaery can do something different. It’s like they only know one way to “dress up” the hair for the ladies. Do braids and then more braids. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it just looks hideous (Thank god they’ve given up putting Cersei’s hair the way they did in Season 1).