MEY Designs, a partnership between Game of Thrones costume designer Michele Clapton and jewelry brand Yunus & Eliza, have launched their first line of accessories. The collection consists of 22 sterling-silver pieces worn or inspired by Daenerys Targaryen. Michele Clapton spoke with HBO about this new venture.
HBO: What inspired you to make these costume designs accessible for purchase?
Michele Clapton: It’s something I had wanted to do for a while but I hadn’t found the right way in – costumes can be hard to adapt to contemporary, and the manufacturing is quite difficult. But Yunus [Ascott] and Eliza [Higgenbottom] have so much knowledge of the fashion jewelry industry that it gave me the confidence to step over into that area. On my own I think it would have been too much, but with them it was great because we all have quite similar ideas, and we love to develop things as we’re working on them. It was a great partnership.
HBO: So many of the women on the show have incredible fashion – why was Daenerys the right pick?
Michele Clapton: She wears quite spectacular pieces, and they tend to be more sculptural and less period. There’s something about her character that appeals to so many people – men, women, young, old. And I thought the pieces I make for her translate to the aesthetic of modern women. I also quite like that they’re not exclusively for women, men can wear some of these pieces. There are other characters we may later work on, but Yunus and Eliza worked primarily with me on Dany’s pieces in the show, so for many reasons she was a good place to start.
HBO: How did you go about designing the pieces?
Michele Clapton: For the pieces from the show I worked with the story, and how I thought the costumes were moving forward. I’ll have an idea of what I want to do, I’ll draw how I want it to fit, and then Eliza and Yunus and I will meet, and we’ll talk about how we can develop it. What makes it such a joy is that their process is a lot like mine. I agree with drawing first, but once you actually start cutting into the fabric, the costume grows as you make it. And that’s what they do; they’ll carve it in wax, and then they carve it away and hollow it, so it’s a process that we can look at all the way through. Yunus actually made the point, sometimes it’s almost like an accident that works out. So it happens over a period of weeks, and evolves as it’s being made.
HBO: What sort of statement do you think Dany’s jewelry makes?
Michele Clapton: Within Game of Thrones they have to express her mental place. I love that they’re not necessarily pretty, they’re quite sculptural, and they represent something. They’re not decoration for decoration’s sake. They relate to something that’s happening in her life, or to her family, or to her trying to make an impression without having to say it.
When we first see her in the white dress ["The Dance of Dragons"] with the dragon necklace, she’s in a situation she really doesn’t want to be in, and the dragons show her strength. It was great having the wings because I knew she would ride on the dragon. But then she couldn’t then be walking around with this huge necklace, so we just have a wingless dragon curling around her neck. I loved the idea that the wings are lost, and it’s like she feels lost; she’s grounded. There’s always a thread of a story going through it.
HBO: Are there designs for people who may not be the “Mother of Dragons”?
Michele Clapton: We tried to make smaller pieces so you can express your inner-khaleesi without actually having to have a great, big necklace on. There’s some beautiful little pieces; my favorite is a little dragon wrap ring. It’s really subtle, but really nice to wear, and incredibly light, even though it’s sterling silver. I like the cuff we made, because it’s really comfortable, and I love the way it just wraps around the wrist. And the little wing earrings are incredibly elegant. So they stand alone, you don’t think, “Oh why have you got Khaleesi’s jewelry on?” You don’t have to be noisy about the pieces. You can shout about it or whisper it.
HBO: Is the winged-dragon necklace your favorite piece in the collection?
Michele Clapton: I do love the movement within it, and the way it could be an amazing statement piece with an evening dress, or worn with something simple like a t-shirt and a black jacket. And I think quite interesting things have come out of it, but it has to be my favorite because it was the inspiration for the whole collection.
HBO: Do you have a next character in mind already?
Michele Clapton: We’ve started planning one thing. This is just the beginning of a great partnership, so we’re very keen to add to it. But it has to come from the show. I wouldn’t design a piece just because I wanted it to be in the range. I’d have to design it for a character in the show, and then think it would work in a contemporary way.
HBO: What can we look forward to with Season 7?
Michele Clapton: It’s really exciting to see the way the characters are developing, and make boards of ideas to see what will be an influence on people; where they are in the story and what happens to them. They’re all moving around a bit, and that’s quite interesting. If before we’ve seen them in one climate, now we may be seeing them in another. That has quite a big impact on how their costumes look. So we’re just in the beginning of the process, but it’s going to be good.