Technically Game of Thrones is set in a nonspecific fantasy world and time, but many of the costumes and customs (along with the treatment of women) seem pretty close to medieval. And with the mega-success of the fantasy epic, we’ve seen elements from that time start to trickle into modern fashion over the past six seasons.
The Tumblr “A Game of Clothes,” which is dedicated to pairing high-fashion pieces with the characters who would wear them, showcases many GoT-esque details that have made it onto the runway, from the intricate drapings of Daenerys Targaryen’s gowns to the brocaded styles of King’s Landing. Westeros might not be a great place to live, but it’s a great place to get dressed.
Givenchy’s fall 2014 collection showcased fur-trimmed coats that seemed to signal “winter is coming,” and the same season, Tory Burch came out with an armor-inspired collection that evoked one of the show’s epic battle scenes. And GoT-inspired looks have been showing up all over the red carpet, like when Kim Kardashian West wore a white caped gown that evoked the Targaryen spirit.
Over the summer, Gilt launched a collection dedicated to re-creating Game of Thrones looks, and fashion-savvy viewers have even joked that the show’s intricate costumes resemble Balmain gowns.
“It’s a two-way thing,” says the show’s lead costume designer, Michele Clapton. “Sometimes it’s great to look at fashion so you don’t get too lost in one period. I look at fashion and I think fashion looks at what we do on Game of Thrones.”
It certainly seems that way. There’s now even a dedicated section on Polyvore for Game of Thrones, in which members post inspiration and outfit sets as well as asking such questions as “What would Daenerys wear to Pentos Fashion Week?” The answer, apparently, can be found on Net-a-Porter.
If the looks seem far-reaching, it’s because the Clapton took inspiration from not just medieval fashion in Europe but also places like medieval Persia and Japan, and Renaissance fashion for dressing some of the “more sophisticated” characters.
“They did have a medieval influence, but you don’t want to get too lost in one period,” she says. “I was very concerned that it shouldn’t be just fantasy for fantasy’s sake. It should have some resonance with the society and place that they live in.”
And the vast collection of different societies and places in the Game of Thrones universe meant that Clapton, who just won her third “Outstanding Costumes” Creative Arts Emmy for Game of Thrones Season 6, had to create a distinctive style and color scheme for each setting, both to help readers follow the complicated storylines and to aid the narrative.
“It was really just looking at the character and what they wanted to say about themselves and how they wanted to be seen,” she says.
Clapton herself was inspired by the powerful Daenerys Targaryen to launch a collaboration with Yunus & Eliza called Mey London, which sells jewelry from and inspired by Game of Thrones. Turns out the Breaker of Chains has worn some pretty sweet bling, like a sterling-silver, hand-carved dragon choker on which the dragon’s mouth actually opens and closes.
As Clapton says, “A lot of people relate to Dany. She’s quite feisty. She’s not always right, but she’s strong. Out of all the people, I thought her jewelry would translate in the best way to modern women.”
Last season was all about the girls running the world (of Westeros), so is it any wonder women would want to dress like Dany, Sansa, Yara, Cersei, and even Lyanna? Sure, she’s 10, but she is KILLING IT.
“All the women in the show are very strong in their own way,” says Clapton, musing on the widespread inspiration of Game of Thrones fashion. “Everyone identifies with one of them.” (Clapton herself? A “Sansa.”)
The theory seems to make sense. After all, if you can’t ride a dragon, you can at least dress like you do. Now, who’s going to admit to identifying with Cersei?
Hopefully the Emmy Awards on Sunday night will deliver both Game of Thrones realness on the runway and Game of Thrones victory onstage — the show is nominated 23 times.