Recreation of Thrones’ Cersei Lannister, defined by her costumes


The ultimate season of Recreation of Thrones is upon us. Beginning on April 14, the popular culture phenomenon will attract zillions of viewers, all questioning which characters will survive to the tip. Truthfully, the possibilities of Cersei Lannister making it out alive are usually not nice (Vegas oddsmakers are taking bets not simply on her loss of life, however who precisely will kill her), however hers has been a hell of an arc to observe. Her character is likely one of the most advanced on the present. Is she a heartless villain and sociopath? Is she worthy of empathy? Kinda sure to each.

By all of it, Recreation of Thrones costume designer Michele Clapton has mirrored Cersei’s experiences and household historical past by her elaborate costumes, on which each element is strategic and significant. Cersei tells us so much about what’s taking place in her life by her wardrobe, similar to her favourite punching bag, Sansa Stark does.

“Cersei has all the time spoken so much by her costumes, actually because she didn’t have a voice. On Recreation of Thrones, you need to say a lot in so little time. I exploit costumes on Cersei to get throughout her temper and the way she’s feeling visually,” Clapton informed Elle in 2017.

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Cersei, performed by Lena Headey, has performed some actually horrible issues. She watched coldly as her brother pushed a small baby out a window … as a result of the boy caught them having intercourse. All three of her kids with Robert Baratheon, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, are literally the product of her incestuous affair. Or moderately, former Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, as she convinces her different lover to kill her husband by giving him an excessive amount of wine and letting a wild boar end him off.

That’s simply the primary season — her atrocities go on and on. And but!

Cersei and Ned Stark in happier occasions (season one) when Ned nonetheless had a head.

She’s additionally had many injustices and indignities heaped on her. Her father, Tywin Lannister, didn’t actually love her, viewing her as a marriageable pawn and baby-making machine to extend Lannister energy. She was conscripted right into a loveless marriage to an alcoholic king who pined for Jon Snow’s lifeless, secret, actual mother. All three of her kids died tragically. She was compelled to stroll down the streets bare in public by spiritual zealots. By season eight, her solely companions are a big zombie who tortures folks and a creepy man who lives within the basement.

Cersei will not be like Sansa Stark, whose conduct and wardrobe typically emulates these round her. Circumstances, her Lannister loyalty, and her personal — typically horrible — choices form Cersei and have an effect on her garments, hair, and bearing.

Right here’s what her costumes inform us about her character, damaged down into three eras of Cersei:

Queen consort and Queen regent

Once we meet Cersei within the first few seasons, her model is historically female: flowing, wavy hair and colourful robes, typically worn kimono-style. Her sexuality is a supply of energy for her, as a result of it’s the one energy she has at the moment. Whereas she has little sexual energy over her husband, Robert Baratheon, she has a fantastic impact on Lannister males: her brother Jamie, and her first cousin and true fuccboi Lancel, whom she makes use of to assist her kill Robert. With Robert’s loss of life, her son, Joffrey, is put in to the throne, bringing her nearer to energy.

Cersei and Tyrion Lannister (season two) earlier than their sibling rivalry went past mere arguments about who’s Dad’s favourite.

Lena Headey makes the case for compassion towards Cersei, telling Time in 2017, “As we’ve grown to know her a bit extra, we see that she’s a lady surviving in a very s–tty world determined to be heard, saying one thing seven occasions when a person says it as soon as. … With Cersei and Jaime, we’ve all the time talked about it — Cersei’s all the time wished to be him. Due to this fact, for her, that relationship is completion. There’s been an envy, as a result of he was born with privilege only for being a person.”

We see her sporting pink, a Lannister signature and customarily an influence coloration, a bit to start with, however as soon as Joffrey is put in on the throne and she or he begins feeling extra highly effective, the colour reveals up extra persistently. Clapton informed Leisure Weekly that that is when Cersei began to “emphasize her Lannister energy.” We additionally begin seeing armor particulars on her robes, which at this level she nonetheless wears as ornament, like this sternum armor corset:

Cersei and Littlefinger, probably scheming (season three).

Throughout this era, she wears large lion heads on all the pieces, the image of the Lannister clan. It seems on her necklaces, belts, and epaulets. You possibly can see it twice on the above look, in each her choker and armor. Even the embroidery, because the present’s embroiderer Michele Carragher says on her website, turns into extra armor-like. Cersei is a Lannister, hear her roar.

Issues begin to get fascinating in season three when Margaery Tyrell involves Westeros to marry Joffrey. She is younger, engaging, a favourite of the residents, and a menace to Cersei’s energy, as a result of they each need to use Joffrey to their benefit. “When she’s battling with Margaery, who wears much less and fewer to point out her youth, Cersei wore increasingly more and extra ornate attire,” Clapton informed Time.

Thus begins the most effective sartorial intervals within the present, particularly for trend nerds.

“Margaery’s in nice competitors with Cersei. It’s nearly like a trend combat between them, which is kind of humorous,” Clapton informed me in an interview for Fashionista in 2013.

Margaery Tyrell (season three) loves a slutty prime.

One specific tidbit that Clapton additionally informed me at the moment is that she had been impressed by an Alexander McQueen funnel neck robe worn by Bjork, probably the one on her 1997 Homogenic album cowl. The silhouette first appeared on a gown briefly seen on Margaery, however Clapton reprised that very same funnel neck repeatedly on robes for Cersei; it grew to become an influence signature for her all through subsequent seasons.

Bjork on the duvet of her 1997 Homogenic album, sporting an Alexander McQueen gown.
Elektra Information

Cersei, season 3, sporting a funnel neck robe impressed by Bjork’s.

The height of the Cersei-Margaery aesthetic battle got here on the Purple Marriage ceremony, through which Joffrey and Margaery wed and Joffrey was then poisoned to loss of life. However first, Cersei marked the event by piling on the ornamentation.

“Most of the courtroom at the moment are wearing Margaery’s model to point out the help she enjoys. A number of older ladies nonetheless comply with Cersei’s model, which is one other thorn in her facet. … Cersei’s gown is closely embroidered with Lannister imagery. It’s a gown of weight and energy,” Clapton informed me in 2014.

It’s the first time we see the massive triple Lannister lion’s head assertion necklace, which appeared a number of extra occasions in following seasons. Clapton informed Vulture in 2016, “When she’s feeling insecure, like with Margaery, as an illustration, she wears these large, clunky gold items to point out that she’s a Lannister and vital and has standing.”

On the Purple Marriage ceremony, in season three.

However Joffrey’s loss of life is the beginning of a cycle of fixed loss, grief, and trauma for Cersei, which results in some somber wardrobe modifications.

Mourning the loss of life of Joffrey (season 4), probably the most hated TV character ever.

Grief and disgrace, disgrace, disgrace

Shortly after Joffrey’s loss of life, Cersei loses her father on the finish of season 4, due to her brother Tyrion shocking their dad on the bathroom with a crossbow. Whereas Tywin was not a caring and supportive father, she nonetheless loves him. The colour just about goes out of Cersei’s wardrobe, which turns drab and darkish.

Cersei walks with Oberyn Martell (season 4) earlier than the Mountain smashed his stunning head.

She begins dressing in black, and we see that triple lion head necklace so much, in addition to a reprise of the funnel neck. Cersei’s youngest son Tommen is now on the throne, however he’s a mere child. She’s grieving, however she’s additionally asserting her energy.

Cersei (season 5) breaks out her greatest funnel neck and largest necklace for Tywin’s funeral.


Then comes the darkest time of Cersei’s life. First, her daughter Myrcella is killed in retaliation for Cersei killing Oberyn Martell. Then she is arrested by the Excessive Sparrow, as a result of Lancel (sure, the identical one who used to sleep with Cersei), radicalized by faith, confessed their affair, plus snitched about Cersei’s relationship with Jaime.

Cersei imprisoned (season 5).
Macall B. Polay/HBO

Cersei earlier than the stroll of disgrace, disgrace, disgrace.
Macall B. Polay/HBO

Cersei is arrested and put in a shapeless, soiled jail robe. Then, her hair is mercilessly sawed off. Lengthy hair has all the time been seen as a logo of female energy and sexuality, so slicing it’s an try and strip Cersei of these issues which she has all the time weaponized. It’s probably the most weak we have now ever seen her. Most cruelly of all, she is made to stroll bare down the road, the place she is jeered at and injured by onlookers. The Cersei that comes out the opposite facet is hardened.

The Lannister queen

Upon regaining her energy, Cersei’s first order of enterprise is to explode everybody who has wronged her. Within the season six finale, she engineered a wildfire explosion that killed Margaery and a piece of the Tyrell household, the Excessive Sparrow, and Lancel. For the event, Cersei wore probably the most militaristic outfits we’ve seen her in but. It additionally gave rise to the most effective GIFs ever, turning Cersei into the Rihanna of Westeros. (Wine glasses have all the time been an adjunct for her, however this actually put one entrance and heart.)

Her smugness is short-lived, as a result of shortly after Margaery dies, Tommen jumps out his window, leaving Cersei childless. Nonetheless, this additionally permits her to formally ascend to the throne. At her coronation, she wears a stripped down Lannister lion crown. Clapton additionally subtly switched up the size of Cersei’s attire, making them extra maneuverable. “We’ve shortened her gown so it makes her much less weak. She will be able to transfer and she or he generally is a little bit like Dany in a approach, as a result of it’s not fairly as restrictive,” she informed Insider.

Whereas Cersei has all the time channeled her father in varied methods, she now outright copies him in her model, leaning into tight, black perforated and quilted types. Though Clapton informed me that her coronation gown was meant as an homage to Tywin and likewise to mock him a bit.

Raiding Dad’s closet, season seven.
Helen Sloan/HBO

Twyin: unhealthy father, good dresser?

She additionally embraces excessive necklines, nearly like a Westerosi turtleneck, and excessive construction. “The model of her attire are [like] armor. She is untouchable — she not has to make use of her sexuality to obtain what she needs. She has to some extent turn into androgynous. She lastly has what she all the time wished, however was it value it?” Clapton mentioned to Leisure Weekly.

Or are these armored turtlenecks probably a response to a prophecy within the books that by no means made it onto the display screen model of the story? Maggy, the witch who foretells that Cersei’s three kids will die, additionally tells her: “When your tears have drowned you, the valonqar shall wrap his palms about your pale white throat and choke the life from you.” The great folks at Vainness Truthful have damaged down the small print of this principle (together with who the valonqar is perhaps), which I cannot spoil right here, however taken with all of the excessive necklines she’s sporting, it’s fairly compelling.

A sneak peek at Cersei’s season eight wardrobe.
Helen Sloan/HBO

Talking of androgynous, Cersei’s hair stays quick all through season seven. I wish to suppose that she selected to embrace the crop and reclaim it as a special sort of energy. (Simply look to Brienne of Tarth for help of highly effective ladies with quick hair.) As a result of time is outwardly meaningless, with the present taking huge liberties in season seven, we’ll by no means know if the minimize is her selection or simply that there hasn’t been sufficient time to develop it again.

The final wardrobe-related problem for Cersei? A potential being pregnant.

Cersei, the most recent royal to cradle her bump.
Helen Sloan/HBO

Preserving all that construction goes to be difficult with a rising child bump. In some way, although, I don’t suppose that she’s going to truly make it 9 extra months.

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