Michele Clapton talks dressing the reunited Starks and Indian company discusses replicating Westeros

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The gleaming swords and daggers, the regal crowns, the intricate embroidery on gowns and robes — part of the appeal for Game Of Thrones fans is the level of detail in the costuming and the beautifully imagined world it helps to create.

In a recent article from Broadly, fans got a peek behind the curtain at how some of Westeros is clothed and armored when Sunaina Kumar interviewed Rashi Goil of RS Windlass & Sons, a company that provides props and costumes to the hit HBO series; and series costumer designer Michele Clapton talked about dressing the reunited Stark siblings in an interview on HBO’s Making Game of Thrones website.

Arming — and clothing — Westeros
Founded by Goil’s great-grandfather to supply weapons to the British Indian Army during World War II, the company has created armor, helmets and weapons like Jon Snow’s Longclaw and Ned Stark’s Ice that are used on the set of Thrones (in addition to sticking to their dayjob of providing weaponry for some of the world’s largest militaries). They also provide officially licensed replicas that fans use for cosplay, Halloween costumes and Live Action Role Play (LARP) — and although those are crafted out of latex and foam rubber, not iron and steel, the appearance is strikingly similar. “You cannot tell the difference from a distance,” Goil told Broadly.

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Replica weapons hang in the factory at RS Windlass & Sons. Sunaina Kumar/Broadly

The company also provides some of the elaborate costumes used for Thrones, like the leather-and-wool garb of Northerners and the silk gowns of King’s Landing, and any licensed replicas have to be as accurate as possible. Goil noted that the company’s head of business operations in America has visited the set in Ireland to talk with costume designer Michele Clapton and armor designer Augusto Grassi and to examine the details of the costumes and props, ensuring they use the same materials and fabrics.

Dressing a long-awaited reunion
Emmy Award-winning Thrones costume designer Michele Clapton knew all eyes would be on Winterfell during last week’s episode 4 (until the last 10 minutes or so, when something with a dragon happened) when Bran, Sansa and Arya would be together for the first time since season 1 — but she wanted the Stark siblings to wear clothing that represented the individual journeys that brought them back home.

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Bran’s costume from “The Spoils of War.”

“I wanted to reflect how different they all are from their experiences. There is something they have taken from their parents in the shape of a dress, the cut of a cape or the quilting details, apart from Bran who is so removed,” she said in an interview with HBO’s Making Game Of Thrones website. “Sansa’s cape, for instance, represents Ned and her desire to take on more of a leadership role at Winterfell.”

“All the characters’ costumes are a consequence of the journey and lifestyle,” Clapton continued, particularly referencing a favorite piece of hers — Sansa’s belt, which she designed to represent the removal of any possible physical touch. “Her dresses are also tightly-laced on, incredibly difficult to remove.”

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A close-up of Sansa’s gown detailing and chain from “The Spoils of War.”

The increasingly somber mood in the North (and all of Westeros, really) also drove Clapton to choose darker colors, noting that “Winter has come … There are discreet tones within the costumes, subdued hints of their sigil colors.”

The complete Broadly interview is available here, while the Clapton interview and more photos of the Stark costumes from episode 4 are available here.

28 responses

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    1. They couldn’t afford to get poor Meera a new costume. Poor girl has the same outfit for 5 seasons now.

      They really screwed up with the Bran/Jojen/Meera story arc and not showing their bond early when Bran was in WF. Now the goodbye scene, most show viewers I talked to just see Bran as a jerk and Meera as some tertiary character.

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    2. Firstly, he never sold Sansa to the Boltons. He had a plan to take back Winterfell which Sansa agreed with. He did not force her to accept it, even offered an other option, she made the decision by herself. He didn’t count on Cersei’s letter, he didn’t know he had to leave Sansa alone. Not to mention it has been told several times that he did not know about Ramsay. The directors and the actor confirmed it. As Aidan Gillen said: Many things could happen behind closed doors. It’s all D&D’s fault, they sacrificed his character for Theon’s redemption arc.
      He had several chances to take advantage of Sansa’s vulnerability during their travels together, but he  N-E-V-E-R forced himself on her! Even when the “ innocent” lady Stark provoked him in that hooker dress he contained himself! Sansa could be herself in his company probably for the first time since she left Winterfell with her family! She made her own decisions, she could tell her opinions in Petyr’s company any time she wanted which is quite a rare thing in that aberrant cut-throat world! He was sooo terrible, that instead of raping her, he looked after her, treated her like a queen and gave her useful lessons to help her survive that harsh world where you can stay alive only if you play the game.

      Sansa needs to protect her body from Petyr sounds like a bad joke…he’s not flawless, but calling him a rapist, they went way too far

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    3. “Her dresses are… incredibly difficult to remove”.

      That broke my heart… to think why she has it like that, what she has been through to be in that mind space. Maybe for warmth, or power, or some other reason, but to think of her past. How heartbreaking. That really hit me, that one little sentence.

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    4. Eilidh,

      100%, that hit me hard when I read that, her costumes are not only about wealth and power, it’s also about protecting herself and her body from harm, after all, she is a very young woman who has been through hell.

      I also got emotional when Arya was fighting with Brienne, she is wearing the same outfit that the Stark boys and Ned were wearing.

      By the way, am I the only one who thought that Bran came from the Italian renaissance? That was really cool.

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    5. RosemarryElise5,

      Nobody called Littlefinger a rapist. All Clapton said was that Sansa’s difficult to remove dress was a ‘message’ to him. I take that to mean letting him know she is not interested in marriage. If Sansa really thought Littlefinger was a threat to rape her he would NOT still be at Winterfell.

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    6. I think Michele Clapton is a genius in costume design.
      Only hitch I find is, seems she says she designs the jewelry, I don’t care for Dany’s accessories, kind of clunky , need more elegance , lighter weight.

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    7. I haven’t read the full article but in our newspaper it reported that the fur collars on the capes were rugs from Ikea.

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    8. Lord of Coffee: All Clapton said was that Sansa’s difficult to remove dress was a ‘message’ to him

      In this universe, does “incredibly difficult to remove” mean that there are four clasps before full nudity is achieved? I don’t think that most Westerosi men could wait that long….

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    9. RosemarryElise5: It’s all D&D’s fault, they sacrificed his character for Theon’s redemption arc.

      I don’t think that is true. LF’s character has been one of the greatest enigma’s of the series, going back nearly 20 years. (I still sort of wish that the “agent of White Walkers” idea had been true…. 🙁 ) It is clear that he is obsessed with Sansa and that he’s emotionally confused her with Catelyn. However, if they had unraveled his character more than they did before now, then the enigma would be gone. Moreover, his key role in the story last year (Sansa having to ultimately eat crow and turn to him) might have been lost. It’s possible this is setting up something big for this year’s story: LF represents another “front” for Sansa with which she will have to deal at some point: the question is, where does it rank among the other 27 fronts on which she is fighting?

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    10. No one wears any actual armour anymore – I mean real armour, not just a few bits of plate on top of leather.

      Wimsey,

      LF exists to maintain some sort of genuine tension at WF as far as the plot is concerned. If he wasn’t there, we’d just a few family reunions and people counting grain stores. The show needs to keep that part of the world engaging while other things are happening so we need a challenge in WF. LF is that challenge.

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    11. I’ve read a comment on line which suggests Jon will be the one to pull the arrow out of Drogon.

      I’m not sure Jon’s big on ‘pulling out’ of ‘dragons’ though.

      I’ll get me coat.

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    12. Carole H,

      I believe that was only in regards to the capes worn by the Night’s Watch, not the fur collars worn by the Northern houses.

      I have to find that article again to check.

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    13. Violator: The show needs to keep that part of the world engaging while other things are happening so we need a challenge in WF. LF is that challenge.

      Indeed, or at least part of that tension. It does keep the “Lannisters vs. White Walkers” disagreement on a background simmer; besides his own agendas, Baelish is going to see the Lannisters as the greater threat because he (like Sansa and Arya) know it to be a real threat. I think that a big reason for his little tete a tete with Bran was an attempt to remind him that: 1) whoever tried to kill you fits the traits of the Lannisters (and just about nobody else); and, 2) you’ve seen things that no-one could believe: i.e., I don’t believe you’ve really seen them.

      Poor Baelish! His network that was so good at informing him about goings on in Kings Landing and in much of the south is pretty useless in the north.

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    14. Michele Clapton always brings fantastic details to her costumes. However, I don’t like Sansa’s dress this season, her dress last season was much better. Bran’s outfit is very appropriate.

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    15. AerynsunX,

      It was only in the paper today SO I thought it was connected but you could right. I love the costumes and I know it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I love the jewellery as well.

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    16. I don’t really like the costumes this season, but I do get why she did it though. It’s winter, it’s cold, it’s symbolic of bad things coming. She went with bland, and went with most of the characters looking the same. And I understand the idea. It’s probably to symbolize they’ll all have to work as one unit very soon. But I can’t help but think it’s so bland, it’s almost all blending together.

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    17. orange,

      I’d love to see Daenerys get some armor next time she rides Drogon into battle. It always seems like an unnecessary risk to me that she never wears any armor.

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    18. Mr Derp:
      orange,

      I’d love to see Daenerys get some armor next time she rides Drogon into battle.It always seems like an unnecessary risk to me that she never wears any armor.

      Yeah, maybe the giant crossbow bolt whizzing by her head will be a wake-up call that she’s not invincible up there. Of course, armor wouldn’t stop that anyway, but it might stop regular arrows that they also shot at her and Drogon.

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    19. Horrible dreary costumes now. Why does everything need to be so monochrome? Dull, dull, dull. I appreciate the detail much less because it all merges into the unrelieved grey.

      It was a nice change to see some colour again when Euron rode through the streets of King’s Landing. At least the common folk are still wearing some colourful attire.

      And yes, shame on you for not giving Meera some fresh clothes. There must be plenty of Walda’s dresses knocking around at Winterfell and Sansa’s handy with a needle and thread.

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    20. We got part of Maisie’s new outfit. Now I’m just waiting for the completion of it with the cool ‘left side open’ cloak seen in the EW photoshoot. That full ensemble looks pretty sweet. 🙂

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