A few years ago, if one wanted to dress as Daenerys Targaryen for Halloween, a draped gown with a flowy, feminine silhouette would have been the obvious choice of costume. But as we’ve been seeing in the seventh season, that’s no longer the case. Gone is the Khaleesi we all once knew as she sailed across the Narrow Sea with her three dragons and a brand new wardrobe.
Michele Clapton, the genius behind Game of Thrones’ ornately and intricately detailed Westerosi fashion, is not one to create a look just because. Every single thing produced by the show’s costume department—from Jaime Lannister’s Louis Vuitton golden hand to Jon Snow’s fur cape made from IKEA rugs—represents a piece of the puzzle in this highly convoluted Song of Ice and Fire.
In a video posted by GoT’s official YouTube channel, the costume designer gave a lowdown on how her team conceptualizes the wardrobe of each character, even citing the people in the North as an example. "It's Winterfell, what do people do in the evenings? Well, they probably embroider. You have to balance that with the other characters around them and consider the set, colors, and it just evolves,” says Michele. "You know their story. You know what they're doing. You know what their relationships are. You need to show that somehow in cloth.”
This brings us back to Daenerys and why her noticeable style evolution is the key to understanding (and potentially predicting) her fate in the series. Clad in dark, structured gowns that look more like an armor than a queen’s frock, the Mother of Dragons is more than ready to go to war. She’s fierce, she’s strong, and now more than ever, she’s a force to be reckoned with.
"With Dany, subliminally it's monochrome, but there's actually red there—a little bit of her house colors coming in finally," Michele tells Business Insider, explaining the idea behind the color palette that befits the last woman standing from House Targaryen. “Now you do finally start seeing [red] creeping in through the scaling and embroidery on her dresses. It's just a touch.”
Daenerys’ new set of costumes for season seven tells of her character’s journey: "She was a confused woman, she was wandering... trying to seek something. And now she's finally got her armor, she's finally got everything, and she can finally echo the style of her brother with the extended shoulders and the [Targaryen] red and the symbolism,” Michele explains, also pointing out how Daenerys’ new outfits draw inspiration from her brother’s, along with a few notable tweaks. “[Viserys] always had the big Targaryen [sigil] on his chest, and now [Daenerys has] the big chain with the dragon's heads on it.”
Every minute detail in Daenerys’ evolved look is a symbolism of something greater—the colors symbolize her house, the width of the shoulders and the chain symbolize strength, and the cut symbolizes a power play between her and another female leader, specifically Cersei Lannister.
But here’s another important question everyone seems to be asking: Why is the Targaryen queen without a crown?
“Well, she's not the queen [of the Seven Kingdoms] yet,” says the costume designer. “You can't have a crown until you are queen. You can have the chain, but until you get the throne you're not queen. I liked that [Daenerys is] wearing everything she can to show her status, but she can't wear the crown because it'd be wearing it before it was due.”
Unlike Daenerys, Cersei has finally made it to the Iron Throne, a major character development which also greatly reflects in her black and silver wardrobe overhaul. “With Cersei, at this point, she's attained the throne and there's strength in her embroidery,” Michele notes. “We try to be really symbolic about everything everyone wears now.”
Let’s be honest, though—judging from last night’s episode, Cersei might not be sitting on the Iron Throne for too long now. And assuming so, perhaps Daenerys’ crown is already in the works? Ah, the next episode can't come any sooner!