the Metamorphosis of Myrcella Baratheon
For my bachelor thesis I have recreated the different stations in the life of Myrcella Baratheon from the HBO-Show Game of Thrones. At first she is shown inside red walls, walking down the aisle in her second dress, symbolizing the marriage she is about to enter. With her arrival in Dorne the scenery changes to an oasis-like landscape and her clothing changes as well.
The goal of this thesis was to showcase the different influences on a character’s costume design with a focus on geographical and psychological cues.
Besides by the costumes of the series themselves, the collection was greatly inspired by a butterfly’s metamorphosis. Just like a caterpillar breaking free from its chrysalis and changing into a butterfly, Myrcella is breaking free from her mother’s control and finding new freedom in Dorne.
Season 1 – Childhood
Myrcella’s first dress is strongly inspired by Cersei to visualize the strong influence her mother has on her. The lines and colours however are softer, to underline her amicable personality and the belt is more delicate as well, as Myrcella has no need for armour. The outfit hints to her feeling trapped in her family’s expectations and her duties and employs subtle butterfly elements, showing her potential. Because of her youthful age, the dress ends at ankle-length and the sleeves are not as wide as her mother’s. These details allow for the dress to be cleaned more easily as it is not as likely to be stained in play.
It is mafe from luxorious materials like (faux) silk and velvet. The red and gold are the colours of the Lannisters as well, her family, although Myrcella’s shade of red is a softer one, playing into pink.
Season 2 – Departure
Like the first outfit, the second dress is designed in Cersei’s style, but clearly shows Myrcella’s royal status. Appropriate for the engagement, the reason for her departure, the dress is at full-length and the sleeves are much wider, accentuating her femininity. The inlets of the skirt feature her family’s royal sigil, the Baratheon Stag and the Lannister Lion, highlighting her status as the Princess of Westeros.
The draped fabric across her chest and shoulders represents Myrcella‘s feeling of imprisonment due to her position. The silk crossed over her chest seems to strangle her and the panels of fabric falling over her shoulders like wings are tied together at the ends.
Season 3 – Arrival
As Myrcella does not yet feel at home in Dorne, her style is still inspired by Cersei, albeit with Dornish elements and adapted to the heat. Thus the sleeves have been replaced by draped chiffon and the dress has been shortened considerably, with an asymmetric hem. Underneath she is wearing a slightly sheer dress in a classic Dornish cut in the country’s signature shade of yellow.
The chrysalis imagery of her jewelry hints at her imminent metamorphosis. Holding the draped sleeves are fibulae, recurrent in all her Dornish outfits and shaped like butterflies. Her belt features a butterfly motif as well. For the first time her outfit incorporates a soft shade of rosy pink, which is to become her signature colour.
Season 4 – Integration
With a growing sense of home in Dorne, her fourth dress is fully in the local fashion. Ellaria Sand, being the primary female character from that region, is the main stylistic inspiration. The draperies are becoming more elaborate and the butterfly motif is developed further. Recalling the second dress, fabric is again fraped over her shoulder like wings, but this time, they are free.
By now Myrcella is predominantly wearing a soft pastel pink, combined with the sunny yellow of Dorne. While there is still a shade of red hinting at her Lannister heritage, it is a delicate colour, symbolizing her kind nature. The yellow shows her growing solidarity with her new home and family.
Season 5 – Catharsis
Myrcella’s final outfit is the signature dress of the Dornish court, laced tight at the waist but voluminous at bust and bottom. Made from transparent silk, it has a cloudlike, almost insubstantial look to it. Underneath she is wearing a long underskirt in a contrasting colour and a matching bra, decorated with embroidery. In Myrcella’s case the dress is pastel pink, while the undergarments are sunny yellow with golden leaves.
The draping once more reminds of wings, but also of a cozy embrace, hinting at her blossoming relationship. Once again her jewelry and the fibulae holding the draping are showing the butterfly motif.