Her story starts at her lower back where the Tully fish and Stark Direwolf entwine as we move round to the front the Lannister Lion is becoming dominant over the Direwolf and at the back neck the Lions head is stamped onto Sansa. The dress colour was still very much Sansa Stark and the embroidery had pale golden tones but woven through the story are ripe red pomegranates, the red colour symbolising the growing Lannister influence over her.
For this dress the designer Michele Clapton wanted a dragonscale like textured embroidery that starts to emerge on Daenerys’s costume and becomes heavier and more pronounced, growing and evolving as the season progresses.
To create this I used a North American smocking stitch. I then used a metallic thread combined with blue embroidery thread to do a stitch called “lock stitch” (a good book to find this in is "A Tale of Two Stitches" by Jan Beaney & Jean Littlejohn) in a random manner to fix and blend the smocked dragonscale onto the dress.
On the second dress I used much more of the lock stitch and started to grow the decoration down the dress.
The third and final dress is in a paper silk so has more sheen, again I applied smocked pieces to the shoulders, but add more down across the bust. Again I add the lock stitch in between, also adding pieces of Italian tubular mesh wire, which I open up slightly and use a lock stitch over the top. The decoration is heavier than on the previous dresses and grows further down trailing off down the skirt panels. The final embellishment is a few Miyuki Tila beads and Miyuki drops in matt metal patina iris on the edge of the sleeve and neck adding another scale like texture.
I have spent so long trying to find this image. I can’t begin to put into words how happy I am to have not only found where it is from but all of the different views that the Museum has graciously taken of the costume.
Bunka Gakuen Costume Museum
Empress Dowager Akinori (1849-1914)
I love the mix of cultures in this piece, how seamlessly the two are intertwined. It’s effortless and graceful. Note how the traditional chrysanthemum have been incorporated into Western fashion. It is so uniquely beautiful.
The original text reads: 大礼服（マント・ド・クール）は、明治時代から昭和戦前期の宮廷服である。女子の最高の礼服で、襟あきが大きく、袖無しか短い袖のドレスにトレーン（引き裾）を付けることが特色である｡本資料のボディスとトレーンは緋ベルベット、スカートには白繻子地を用い、それぞれに菊花を日本刺繍によって豪華に表している｡大きく膨らんだパフ･スリーブ、釣り鐘形のスカートなどの特徴は、明治20年代後半に調製されたことを示している｡
This court dress (manteau de cour) was worn as the imperial dress from Meiji (1868-1926) through Showa (1926-1989) period up to the beginning of WW2. The distinct features of this most formal type of women’s dress is the broad neckline, short or no sleeves, and a skirt with a long train. The original material of the bodice and the train is scarlet-coloured velvet, the skirt is made from white satin and shows the magnificent Japanese chrsyanthemum embroidery. The large puff sleeves and the bell-shaped skirt both show the typical production of the the late half of Meiji 20’s era (1892-1897).
(a huge thank you for this translation goes to the following)
Embroidered details in Game of Thrones
‘Michele Carragher is a London-based Hand Embroiderer and Illustrator who has been working in costume on film and television productions for over 15 years. She studied Fashion Design at The London College of Fashion, where the course incorporated design, pattern cutting, garment construction, embroidery, millinery and illustration. At the same time she attended a three year evening course in Saddlery at Cordwainers College learning skills in leatherwork.
After leaving college Michele worked in Textile Conservation, repairing and restoring historical textiles for private collectors and museums, specialising in hand embroidery. She then moved into a career in costume for film and television, initially working as a Costume Assistant/Maker on productions such as the BBC’s Our Mutual Friend, ITV’s David Copperfield and Mansfield Park. She soon gravitated towards the decoration and embellishment of costumes, using skills in hand embroidery and surface decoration, taking inspiration from the many historical textiles she had encountered working as a Textile Conservator.
The first production that saw her undertake the role of a Principal Costume Embroiderer was for HBO’s 2005 Emmy Costume award-winning production of Elizabeth 1. Her most recent work has been on HBO’s 2012 Costume award-winning television series Game of Thrones, working on all three seasons.
As a Costume Embroiderer Michele specialises in hand embroidery and surface embellishment, using traditional hand embroidery techniques, smocking, beading and surface decoration. She works directly onto the completed garment or starts with motifs and textures on silk crepeline/organza, which are applied to the costume and then worked into once on the actual garment. She also works on existing machine embroidery designs that are not too dense, adding some hand stitching and beading to give a more authentic, hand-finished look.
Michele finds hand embroidery has more flexibility and diversity than that of embroidery created by machine, as there is a greater variety of thread choice and colours to use. It is also possible to work more easily on garments that are already constructed. However, machine embroidery in combination with hand work can be very useful when completing many repeats by creating light outlines or a less dense machine stitch, work can then be completed by hand and again can be carried out on a finished garment.
Michele is a highly creative Costume Embroiderer, producing original designs as well as working closely to a costume designer’s brief to create their desired look.’
Text and images from http://www.michelecarragherembroidery.com
V&A: This is a magnificent example of English court dress of the mid-18th century. It would have been worn by a woman of aristocratic birth for court events involving the royal family. The style of this mantua was perfectly suited for maximum display of wealth and art; this example contains almost 10lb weight of silver thread worked in an elaborate ‘Tree of Life’ Design. The train is signed ‘Rec’d of Mdme Leconte by me Magd. Giles’. The name Leconte has been associated with Huguenot embroideresses working in London between 1710 and 1746. The Huguenots were French Protestants who, following the repressive measures against them that the Catholic monarch Louis XIV of France restarted in 1685, emigrated to Britain and elsewhere.