Fashion Design for Fantasy

Michele Clapton is the Emmy-award winning designer of HBO’s Game of Thrones, a medieval fantasy series based on novels by George R.R. Martin. Before working in television, Clapton had her own fashion line and even worked with musicians as a stylist. She recently had an interview with TIME about creating realistic fashion for the characters of Martin’s fictional story.

Clapton said “the whole idea was that it was a fantasy rooted in reality. There should be a reason for everything, the way people dress—to keep warm or to keep cool or to protect themselves.” Part of what helped Clapton determine what was realistic was the varied geography in Martin’s world. Some areas are bitterly cold (The Wall, the North) whereas others are warm and comfortable (King’s Landing, the South) and yet others are sun-blisteringly hot (Quarth).

Certain types of cloth would be more or less available in different areas, and that makes a big difference in fashion. Areas of trade would obviously have more colors, jewels, cloth, and style; however, areas that are isolated would not. Despite the fact that Game of Thrones is a fictional story, Michele Clapton’s outstanding costume design has actually had an influence on real fashion. Fur-trimmed, medieval-themed clothing has been seen on the runway from designers like Custo Barcelona, Belstaff, Bibhu Mohapatra, Ralph Lauren, threeASFOUR, Michael Kors, Suno, Douglas Hannant, and Derek Lam. When asked if this surprised her, Clapton said, “Yes and no,” reflecting that often fashion is influenced by what is currently trending. Game of Thrones has certainly found a huge following, so that point is quite clearly true.

Photo Helen Sloan /HB


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