Costume designer Michele Clapton not returning for season 6 of Game of Thrones

Michele ClaptonMichele Clapton has designed the look of Game of Thrones for the past five years and according to a new profile in Fashionista, this season was her last.

The costume designer has played a huge role in determining the aesthetic of Game of Thrones, and won two Emmys for her work on the show.

“I feel like we’ve covered all bases now. It was really important to me, knowing that I was going to leave, to actually design the costumes for each [geographic] area  so it’s complete,” Clapton tells Fashionista. “In my head anyway it’s a complete look that I left.”

In addition to sharing the news of her departure, she explains her thoughts behind some of the major costumes we’ve seen in season 5.

Dany and Hizdahr

Of Daenerys’s shift from blue gowns to mainly white and grey, Clapton says:

Now she’s got this sense of power and also a sense of immortality. […] I wanted to give this rather untouchable [quality] to her. The idea behind the white and pale grey is the sense of removal, a removal from reality.

Volantis prostituteClapton explains her invention of the notorious Dany-imitating prostitute in Volantis:

I wanted to shock [showrunners] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], because they always ask me to do outrageous things. I just thought, ‘Fine, I’m going to do a costume with no ass! And they were like, “What were you thinking, Clapton?’ The whole essence of Dany is there… [there] are always circles cut in and bits missing in her dress so I thought it would be really funny.

GAME_OF_THRONES_SEASON_5_2And of course, Nipplegate merits a discussion:

The armor really did have nipples at first. “When I first saw it I said, ‘I hate the nipples. Get rid of those fucking nipples!’ My armorer went, ‘Yeah, yeah, I’ll get rid of it.’ And he did,” she says. “I have this absolute phobia about that armor. It’s the worst thing on earth. It’s sort of funny, because I was cross about it because  it’s such a faux pas, but I don’t think it registers on film as much as it does in those pictures.

She discusses many more of the costumes so head on over to Fashionista for the full profile!

87 responses

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    1. Clapton did great work (though the show’s cinematography often didn’t showcase it very well, so a lot of the little details were lost on everyone but the actors — though that serves a purpose too).

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    2. I kinda forgot about “nipplegate” once the Sand Snakes actually appeared. She’s right. They don’t register as much on-screen, except on a couple of shots.

      It’s sad to see her go. Hopefully the next costume designer doesn’t go crazy with an out-pour of creativity. I like consistency.

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    3. Oh, too bad, I’m going to miss her. Fabulous work. There’s a point in her reasoning though, the world will not expand further dramatically.

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    4. It’s really sad… She has done an incredible work, the costumes were really amazing, and as BeautyBrinne says, some were really pieces of art (Sansa wedding dress I’m looking at you, as well as the Dornish costumes…)
      Anyway. I hope the next designer will be at least respectful of her work, if not better 🙂

      But I’m not totally convinced about her argument about all the “areas” being designed, we still don’t know how the

      Oldtown folk

      dress is like :-p

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    5. This make me really sad, but hey, Gemma Jackson left too and Deborah Riley turned out to be just as good (if not better). I have faith!

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    6. An amazing amount of thought, creativity and work goes into making these costumes – and so easy to overlook when we’re watching the show. Good thing HD makes these more noticeable. Pity poor Arya was stuck with the same one for 4 years!

      Show costume design > book costume design 😉

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    7. Darn. I, for one, am looking forward to Dany’s climactic red dress when she finally goes all-out Targaryen on the iron throne. Maybe they can bring Clapton back to design that one.

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    8. I think that GoT missed one point of Martin’s books: endless food descriptions!

      I read a great article about Hannibal’s food stylist whose job is to make sure that every piece of manflesh that dr Lecter serves to those of refined palate looks as succulent and juicy as it doubtlessly tastes.

      Why don’t we have a food stylist on GoT? D&D have failed us once more!

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    9. Gd75,

      Oldtown is in the Reach, so they’ll dress like they do in Highgarden, presumably. Maybe with some Dornish touches, since it’s even more to the south than Highgarden and it’s pretty close to Dorne.

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    10. NOOOO!!!

      At least we can say that she left on a definite high-point of costume-design with Daznak´s pit. Daenerys in a white dress with THAT necklace is maybe her most beautiful & iconic outfit from all of the series.

      Applause to Clapton for giving Thrones so much of its iconic aesthetics, she can´t be praised enough!

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    11. She’s done a great job, not just in terms of the world in which the books are set in but they have spilled over into pop culture so well done

      Hopefully she can be adequately replaced, at least whoever is coming in has templates to work with so hopefully we get some consistency

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    12. Mr Fixit:
      I think that GoT missed one point of Martin’s books: endless food descriptions!

      I read a great article about Hannibal’s food stylist whose job is to make sure that every piece of manflesh that dr Lecter serves to those of refined palate looks as succulent and juicy as it doubtlessly tastes.

      Why don’t we have a food stylist on GoT? D&D have failed us once more!

      Fiery dornish peppers!

      Actually there was featurette on production design for season 4 and they did show how much time and effort went into making all the food for the Purple Wedding ( which wasn’t real food of course ).

      I wonder if those costumes ever ended up with remnants and stains of sweetgrass, strawberries, and fresh-baked bread, thick soup of barley and venison; salads of sweetgrass and spinach and plums sprinkled with crushed nuts; snails in honey and garlic; sweetbreads and pigeon pie, baked apples fragrant with cinnamon, and lemon cakes frosted in sugar….

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    13. Yep, fantastic work! She deserves all the kudos. One thing that can really bring down or raise up shows/movies of similar genre in my eyes is the costuming. I don’t know that I’ve seen a better job done. She is mostly correct though, aside from a new dress now and again for some of the ladies the designs are pretty much complete.

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    14. Sad to see her go, but I am confident the new costume designer will make a work at least as good as Michele’s work on the show.

      I’ve had a question to ask in this matter for a long time. Why the first season looked so different from the others? I mean, the hair style of Cersei and Sansa, the dresses, the light… I thought it was different because in the second season the person in charge of this was changed, but now I’ve seen that Gemma Jackson worked on the show the first 3 seasons… Anyone can help?

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    15. Wow shes going to be hard to replace. Her designs have been absolutely amazing – they add so much to the show. Hope she’s going on to do something wonderful.

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    16. sad to see her go

      Hope this doesnt affect the remaining seasons and the newcomer will able to do the same magic taht she was able to do

      i was really looking forward to see dany in Dothraki wear again and season6 sansa

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    17. High Sparrow,

      It’s all about the $$. Sure the budget was somewhat restricted in S1

      Also – looks like it is time to wrap this thing up. Folks are starting to get burnt out …

      Kudos and good luck to Michelle Clapton.

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    18. Sam,

      GRRM confirmed that no character will visit Asshai. Yi Ti is nothing but supplemental world-building that of course will never take any part in the story.

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    19. I’m honestly ok with any departures from the show to allow for new blood. This season has been the worst. If only they got new showrunners too.

      & for the love of God can the next costume designer get Daario a new outfit–he’s the queen’s boytoy and he dresses in rags. Also, get Jorah out of that hideous yellow shirt he’s hasn’t taken off in 5 years. Also, the silly bibs on the faceless men outfits are strange & distracting-like giant baby onesies. Arya’s oyster seller outfit is fantastic though-

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    20. Man, I had no idea so much of it came down to just one person. She’s awesome. Top hats and trench coats from here on out probably.

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    21. Sad to see her go. Clapton did excellent work overall, although there were some things I didn’t care for: the weird stiff collar neck pillow things Catelyn used to wear, for one. Her Daenerys costuming and Cersei costuming were iconic. Some of Clapton’s “greatest hits,” in my opinion:

      -Cersei’s red off-the-shoulder gowns with elaborate corset-like belt
      -Sansa’s gloriously hideous gold wedding dress
      -Tywin’s awesome leather daddy coats and boots
      -Jaime’s leather outfit in Season 1 (and Lancel’s pseudo-Jaime getup in Season 2)
      -Dany’s white silk dress with the “slave”-like collar from Season 3
      -Robb’s getup at the Red Wedding
      -Arya’s oyster seller costume
      -Joffrey’s increasingly opulent wardrobe
      -Ellaria’s black riding costume

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    22. Jaime’s S5 leather jacket. That was amazing.

      Brienne’s blue armor. The intricacy of Podrick’s costume.

      Ellaria’s shoulder pads of anger this season.

      Sansa’s wedding dress.

      Some amazing work.

      But then…the Sand Snakes and their Turkish slipper boots.

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    23. I have no issue with the curled-toe boots.

      They’re probably really good in sand; maybe they act like the prow of a boat and skid up and over the sand instead of getting your toes dug in with with every step?

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    24. Hoyti Von Totiy:
      Does this mean Jon Snow can stop wearing that crappy looking cape which makes him look like a 80´s glam pop-rock singer and not a knight-fighter?

      The hair ! You forgot the hair !

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    25. I did notice that the Braavos brothel scene in the last episode did seem runway-esque, just showing off Clapton’s various Braavosi costumes.

      She’s absolutely wonderful, and I enjoyed watching her production videos and reading various essays and articles about the GoT costumes. There is a LOT that goes into them.

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    26. flintwielder: The hair ! You forgot the hair !

      No that is not her fault, i´ve watched making of season 1 or 2 i dont remember and it was some male stylist who tought it would be nice to let the curlies grow out on Kit´s headBECAUSE IT MAKES HIM LOOK ROMANTIC!!!!!????? ….

      http://fashionista.com/2013/06/game-of-thrones-hair-designer-answers-all-our-pressing-questions#4

      p.s.
      From the “vibe” the stylist gave on the screen i would say he is a homosexual.

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    27. I am so sad to hear this! She did so much to create the Game of Thrones world, and her work was always exquisite! I hope whoever takes over can follow through with her aesthetic. She’ll be missed!

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    28. That’s too bad. I wish Clapton well in whatever she’s doing in the future and I’m sure the show will find a suitable replacement.

      I still think that they could make a lot of money selling a ready to wear version of the dress Margaery married Joffrey in. It was gorgeous.

      Where Clapton’s designs really shined though was the everyday wear costuming. A lot of the costumes were dirtied up so they looked lived in. She didn’t try to show off. Each costume looked like something the character would reasonably wear.

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    29. Geralt of Rivia:

      Not this sh*t again.

      Jon Snow was to be a steward made spy made lord commander. He is supposed to look like a WARRIOR like Stannis or Barristan, instead we got a comedy “i have a dead curly animal on my head” look.

      Fire the stylist D&D … winter is coming ….
      FIRE THE STYLIST and let the heterosexual hair style be born!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    30. I´ve made you an example what would Stannis look like if he had a dead curly animal on his head:

      ****WARINIG ONCE YOU SEEN IT YOU CANNOT UNSEE IT IT WILL FOREVER BE BURNED INTO YOUR MEMORY****

      http://postimg.org/image/s0jk95alj/

      Now does THAT make Stannis look “romantic” or does it make him look like he should be in a Monty Phyton Holy Grail movie?

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    31. I’ve been particularly entranced by Melisandre’s costume this season. Everything has gone so much darker red with that character. She’s now crimson/purple. And Carice looks absolutely sensational.

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    32. Can’t wait to see the new designer’s treatment of Euron, Randyll and upgrades for BR and the CotF.

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    33. On the audio commentary for S3E3 Gemma Jackson and Michele Clapton talk about the massive chunk of their life GoT takes up. She’s done a fantastic job to achieve what she has for five seasons now.

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    34. Hoyti Von Totiy:
      I´ve made you an example what would Stannis look like if he had a dead curly animal on his head:

      ****WARINIG ONCE YOU SEEN IT YOU CANNOT UNSEE IT IT WILL FOREVER BE BURNED INTO YOUR MEMORY****

      http://postimg.org/image/s0jk95alj/

      Now does THAT make Stannis look “romantic” or does it make him look like he should be in a Monty Phyton Holy Grail movie?

      AAHH! A 404 error! Terrifying!

        Quote  Reply

    35. Hoyti Von Totiy,

      Oh noooo.What have you done. 😀

      Blame Benioff and Weiss for this.It’s his vision that Jon is supposed to have curly hair.Kit hates it.I couldn’t care less about his dark curly hair,but his acting was a big problem for a long time.

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    36. Gd75,

      Almost certainly like those we saw hit King’s Landing in season 3, and have been seeing ever since.

      (I can not figure out spoilers on this site.)

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    37. Nooo!!!
      Well I hope she just got more opportunities elsewhere and not there was drama behind the scenes, this after all takes a lot of her time and is not very creative at this point. I hope the new designer is able to continue seamlessly yet have some new creative decisions, especially for Oldtown.

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    38. I loved Michele’s work on Thrones. After my initial airing of the episodes, I often went frame by frame admiring the work of her & her team. She truly earned those Emmys. I hope she enjoys her next challenge; she’ll certainly be missed.

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    39. Arya Havin’ a Larf?: Fiery dornish peppers!

      Actually there was featurette on production design for season 4 and they did show how much time and effort went into making all the food for the Purple Wedding ( which wasn’t real food of course ).

      I wonder if those costumes ever ended up with remnants and stains of sweetgrass, strawberries, and fresh-baked bread, thick soup of barley and venison; salads of sweetgrass and spinach and plums sprinkled with crushed nuts; snails in honey and garlic; sweetbreads and pigeon pie, baked apples fragrant with cinnamon, and lemon cakes frosted in sugar….

      You guys may kid but for me is one of the best parts of Hannibal, and for my mum the food descriptions are the best part of the books!! I kid you not!!

      Regarding Michele Clapton she probably wants to move on too, and now she’ll have a much bigger caché and the chance to work on something awesome. Great job!!

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    40. Pau: I have long curly hair myself so…(click on name to verify)

      Not curly enough! Have you considered using a curler for maximum sexy effect?

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    41. Mr Fixit: Not curly enough! Have you considered using a curler for maximum sexy effect?

      It’s actually really curly but in the picture I’m recently out of the shower so looks less curly 😉

      I’ve been known to look like the Bony-M singer on occasions

        Quote  Reply

    42. Pau,

      Ah yes, of course. Being fresh out of shower certainly explains the relative lack of what are, I have no reason to doubt, the most glorious curls. Apologies for my overly rash remark.

        Quote  Reply

    43. The only hair that looks wrong on a man is a pony-tail. It’s the look for which the term pony-tailed ponce was created.

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    44. WeirwoodTreeHugger: Where Clapton’s designs really shined though was the everyday wear costuming. A lot of the costumes were dirtied up so they looked lived in. She didn’t try to show off. Each costume looked like something the character would reasonably wear.

      The quality of her work was obvious from the first opening shot of season 1. Completely unsullied, I was able to tell right away, judging from the costumes of the three rangers, that they were in somewhat similar “uniforms” but of different rank. That, and the work that had obviously gone into the “raising the gate” sequence let me know immediately that this series would be worth my time. As soon as I was able, I bought season 1 on iTunes. Worth every hard-earned penny. Thank you, Ms. Clapton, and continuing success in future.

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    45. Claps for Clapton!
      We’ve had the fur of the Starks and the skin for the Boltons, stingy Frey’s and old money Arryn’s, geometric Lannister and lavish Tyrell and unique looks for Dorne and the Iron Islands. Admittedly the riverlands and stormlands are a little underdeveloped. I’d have constrasting outfits for riverlords, to highlight their decisiveness, and lots of padding or armour on the militant storm people. Every place had a unique style, and the outfits always tell stories themselves. Every region had unique armour, and it’s all beautiful (although I h8 the Lannister helmets… Japan influence too strong).

      For Euron I expect much the same as Balon, but probably more dramatic. Blacks and golds.
      Tarly’s will wear leather. Talia Tarly must have a leather tie up vest.
      I expect Oldtown to have high hairstyles (tower hairstyles and braids) with a Tyrell style, but as someone said above, Dornish influences.
      *hires myself as new designer*

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