The medieval costumes on Game of Thrones are as epic as the story lines. And while visions of the bloody red wedding episode are still fresh in viewers’ heads, each characters’ intricate gowns and steel suits of armor are just as memorable. So it’s no surprise that the show racked up 16 Emmy nominations in categories like Outstanding Costumes, Outstanding Hairstyling, Outstanding Make-Up, Outstanding Prosthetic Make-up, and Outstanding Art Direction, which will be handed out at tonight’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
EW caught up with Natalie Dormer, who plays Margaery Tyrell, to find out what it’s like working with costume designer Michele Clapton and head hairstylist Kevin Alexander.
“There’s so much infrastructure in Margaery’s costumes because my breasts don’t naturally sit in that position,” said Dormer. “They’re incredibly made.”
Though the elaborate garb helps the actress get into character, there is one wardrobe element that’s absolutely essential. “The key is the wig. The hair department on Game of Thrones is incredible,” she said. “I go from my long blonde hair to this brunette color…. I look in the mirror in the hair chair and that’s when I see Margaery.” The same goes for Daenerys Targaryen. “Emilia Clarke has beautiful brunette hair. You should see the lengths they go to put on those stunning white locks.”
Dormer is also in awe of the lengths fans will go to to recreate the show’s looks. While she’s yet to experience Comic-Con, the actress did attend Chicago’s C2E2 pop culture convention last April. “That was my first convention, my virgin convention experience,” she remembered. “Other members of the crew and cast said, ‘Someone will come up to you dressed like your character. It’s going to happen and it’s going to blow your mind how weird and amazing it is.’ And it happened. A girl came up to me completely dressed like Margaery and I was fascinated because she’d really studied the detail of the costume. Obviously, I know the real costume inside out, but the pleating and the detail of the embroidery and the necklace she was wearing was so accurate. It was terrifyingly accurate how well the fan base knows you and your costumes. It’s the biggest compliment you could hope to get. I was looking at her plunging neckline and going, ‘You must be cold. I know what that feels like.’”
When Dormer joined the series in season two, she knew the fantasy-based show was top notch, but she admits she was hardly prepared for the fandemonium. “Who could have predicted what happened?” said the actress, who’d better brace herself as she recently joined The Hunger Games franchise as Cressida. “We talk about it as a cast. Game of Thrones is an unprecedented phenomenon. The reaction it’s gotten online with its international fan base and the depth of knowledge that comes from the fans. And the wide reaching demographic that it seems to appeal to and the way it’s built around fashion with Michele Clapton’s Emmy winning costumes? You see hints of it in fashion. It’s a cultural reference.” She continued, “[It's become] this profound zeitgeist cultural phenomenon and [I'm] just proud that [I'm] a part of that.”
Filming for season four began in July. “It’s like going back to school after the summer,” said Dormer. “It’s a cliché thing to say, but… we’re a big, happy family. [The show's creators and producers] have this incredible energy and it filters down to our incredible crew and our massive cast.” The series will air sometime in spring 2014, but in the meantime, the cast is expected to reunite at the Emmys next Sunday, as the show is nominated for Outstanding Drama Series.
But first, we’ll see if the HBO series scores any awards at tonight’s Creative Arts Emmys, which will air on the new FXX network on Saturday, Sept. 21 at 9pm ET/PT.