If you were part of the six million or so viewers who tuned in last night to watch the Season 4 premier of Game of Thrones, you were no doubt treated to the same stunning scenery, Machiavellian politics, and sumptuous design work that you’ve come to expect from this hit series. While many aspects of television and film-making must come together to throw George R. R. Martin’s novels into compelling life on the small screen, it is the meticulous, Emmy-winning work by costume designer Michele Clapton that solidifies the world of Game of Thrones, grounding its most fantastic elements in the physicality of worn leather and oiled knits, the sumptuousness of silks and gold worn to court, the protection offered by old furs and battle-worn armor against both elements and enemies.
An army of artisans support the Game of Thrones costume department, making 99% of the costumes in house, from armorers, leather-workers, and embroiders, to the weavers and dyers who create many of the show’s fabrics from scratch. There is also an entire team of technicians who are solely responsible for the aging of fabrics and costumes, a key factor in the realism of the series. Michele Clapton emphasizes the need for exhaustive research spanning multiple eras and regions, and is on record as using costuming to drop clues about Game of Thrones characters and their development in the show. Katy Werlin over at Clothes On Film has put together some fascinating analyses relating the costume evolutions of Sansa, Cersei, and Daenerys to their character development through the end of Season 3, and you can see what’s in store for Game of Thrones costume-wise in Season 4 in the video below.
If you’re interested in making your own Game of Thrones-inspired costumes, visit these tutorials for a DIY Hand of the King pin, Daenerys Targaryen outfit, and dragon scale embroidery from Game of Thrones in-house embroiderer, Michele Carragher, and check out the gallery below for more costume inspiration!