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First Look: New Game of Thrones book weaves together a tale of the show's fantasy costumes

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Sep 24, 2019

With Game of Thrones now off the air and doing a victory lap, the good folks at Insight Editions are releasing "Making Of" books about HBO's epic fantasy series. We explored the storyboards publication back in May, but the next three (all going on sale Nov. 5) are concerned with the art, the photography, and the subject of today's exclusive, the costumes. Designed by Michele Clapton, the wardrobe seen on the TV show was a medieval-inspired mix of tunics, dresses, robes, armor, and capes that made Westeros feel like a place that might have existed hundreds of years ago.

"[Michele's] work on the series is unparalleled in terms of artistry and detail, and having the chance to learn the inside story about her process — to understand just how much thought went into every fabric choice, every decision about color and silhouette — was incredibly special," the book's author, Gina McIntyre (Star Wars Icons: Han Solo), tells SYFY WIRE. "Obviously, she achieved something singular and remarkable during her tenure on the series, and I’m really excited and proud to have been able to help tell that story. There was also, of course, an overwhelming sense of responsibility, of really needing to get every last detail right."

Thanks to her work on the penultimate episode of the entire series — "The Bells" — Clapton (along with Emma O'Loughlin, and Kate O'Farrell) won the Creative Emmy this year for Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes. In fact, it's her fourth victory in the category for her Thrones work.

In the three exclusive spreads below, you can learn about how Tyrion's costume changed when he became Dany's Hand in Meereen; the symbolism behind the burning of Dany's Dothraki outfit in the Season 1 finale; and the evolution of the dragon mother's costume as she consolidated her power and transformed into a true queen.

Game of Thrones: The Costumes

Credit: Insight Editions

"Working with Michele was fantastic. In addition to being phenomenally talented, she is insightful, intelligent and open, wonderfully warm and very funny," explains McIntyre. "Our conversations were broken down by character and by season. Every character has a story that’s told through costume, and that story evolved as the show moved from season-to-season, with each character finding themselves in new and different circumstances. Michele took great pains to support the storytelling with her designs, and she was quite adept at explaining her thinking behind all her choices. We spoke on the phone numerous times and then spent a weekend huddled together in a conference room in London reviewing images and going further in depth about various characters and why they wore what they wore when they wore it."

Game of Thrones: The Costumes

Credit: Insight Editions

"I did gain a newfound appreciation for how much time and effort and energy went into every single piece. Although, the fact that Michele never, not once, used a zipper on any of the costumes was actually little surprising," adds McIntyre. "At the outset of the project, I had assumed that there would have been at least one or two zippers sewn into the back of some of the most complicated costumes, just to make them easier to take on and off. But, no."

Game of Thrones: The Costumes

Credit: Insight Editions

Game of Thrones: The Costumes goes on sale from Insight Editions Tuesday, Nov. 5. You can pre-order a copy on Amazon here.

"I hope the book gives readers from all backgrounds a better understanding of the art and craft of costuming and just how much Michele’s singular approach really contributed to what Game of Thrones became," finishes McIntyre. "Westeros would not have looked the same without her vision — from the Starks and the Lannisters, to the Targaryens and all the tribes living north of the Wall, Michele’s ideas about how those characters would live and would dress really defined the visual aesthetic that made the world of the series feel so richly lived in and real."


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