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Dressing the Seven Kingdoms: Michele Clapton

The name behind every costume in Game of Thrones

Emilia Clarke in Game of Thrones, Source: Imdb, Copyright HBO

Game of Thrones is in the air – some say it an epic, some call it a masterpiece and some as fashion. As the long-awaited eight and final season is on, our focus is on its costume design. From Jon Snow’s heavy cloaks to Daenerys Targaryen’s fur coat that she wore during riding a dragon, Michele Clapton is the name behind every fabulous costume in the entire Game of Thrones series.

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Sophie Turner in Game of Thrones, Source: Imdb, Copyright HBO

Like every other element in the Big-Budget series, even the finer details are most important for the costume department, which is largely led by costume designer Michele Clapton, who set the fashion in Westeros. Clapton was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Costumes for a Series for all five seasons of Game of Thrones which she worked on, and she won it twice for Season 2 and Season 4. The awards were specifically for Season 2’s “The Prince of Winterfell” and Season 4’s “The Lion and the Rose”.

With so many conflicting cliques and everyone plays their own personal style, artists of the Game of Thrones have a massive job to do. Michel Clapton once estimated that he produces about 120 major costumes per season, and at any given time there is a team of approximately 70 to 100 people working with her. The experts who are on the call of her are the printers, cutters, armorers, embroiderers, leather workers, metal workers, dyers, and jewelers.

Michele Clapton prefers to be behind the scenes, forming an idea and yielding detailed clothing worn by those actors, who have transformed the characters like Sansa Stark and Jon Snow into very familiar ones. She and her team are responsible for turning Daenerys Targaryen into Khaleesi, Mother of Dragons and Arya Stark into an act of revenge taking warrior from an innocent young girl. Although she is very concerned of her work and was very busy designing the magnificent costumes, Michelle Clapton managed to make a single cameo role in eight years, in one of the longest-running television epics she worked on so far. She played the role of Septa Dresser or a female clergy member of the seven kingdoms. “I loved it for about five minutes, and then I got really bored being on set,” she says. “I couldn’t be an actress!”

Lena Headey in Game of Thrones, Source: Imdb, Copyright HBO

On further, Michele Clapton told that many of the fabrics are made from starch and ninety-nine percent of the costumes are made in house. They have everything on site including armorers, weavers and also the embroiderers. They weave their own fabric in their loom, which was mostly made of starch. “I continue to use costume design and details to express each character’s state of mind,” Clapton says. “I love this sense of storytelling. It’s very subliminal, but when fans rewatch episodes, they often spot clues that they may have missed the first time ’round.” Sansa Stark’s season seven costumes, for example, denoted a new self-awareness. “I love how she ended up in the belt wrapped around her. The precision of each buckle, the symmetry, the stitching on the cloth. . .” says Clapton. “It was supposed to represent the idea that no one will lay hands on her again, that she will leave nothing to chance.”

Talking of the most prominent characters of GOT, Clapton put Daenerys Targaryen at top. Danny had the most major makeovers in the whole series. In the early seasons, she was seen in entire sheer, pale dresses to reflect her innocence. She was costumed into the leather as she adapted to Dothraki clan as a warrior. And now as she claims the Iron Throne, her dressing has been restructured again.

Game of Thrones has been a great influence on fashion or better says it has set an all-new trend of cloaks and Gowns. The wardrobe team of GOT including Clapton has done an amazing job. They hand-painted metallic paint into washed paper silk to create fine dresses.

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