Warning: this article includes spoilers for the Game of Thrones season 6 finale.
There I was thinking Cersei's dress in the Game of Thrones season 6 finale was an ode to Pinhead. The dark, flowing gown was obviously meant to represent her appointment as an amoral hell being. Instead, it turns out that the real truth behind her costume stems from her Lannister heritage. (Same thing, right?)
To construct the new Queen's gown for her coronation, the show's costume designer Michele Clapton reveals that the outfit is meant to represent her inner journey. It's absolutely stuffed with meaning. Every. Tiny. Part. "I knew it had to be leather and I knew it had to be linked to Tywin," she tells Vanity Fair. "I wanted a distinct, strong silhouette, so I squared her shoulders. I also wanted the dress to skim her ankles, so that you could see her feet - again, strength."
"The silver shoulders are decorated in a similar manner to Jaime's gold hand," she adds, "the one person that she still has something with. There is no ‘decoration’ to Cersei."
"Black was the obvious choice," Clapton says of the decision to make a celebratory occasion quite maudlin. "Yes, it is for mourning her children, her father... but it’s more than that. To me, it represents a deadness inside her - the overwhelming desire for power at any cost. The multi-layered effect created by mounting the leather onto silver brocade gives a more complex feeling, implying that nothing achieved is ever simple."
It makes you really appreciate just how much effort goes into the show's costume design. Especially finding a way to reflect Cersei's black soul through fashion choices. Most impressive is how those small details build up to present her as a reformed woman. It's hard to believe that this is the same Cersei who took that hideous Walk of Atonement in season five, and even managed to make us feel slightly sympathetic toward her afterwards.
Out of the entire ensemble, it was the crown that took the most work, signalling her evolution from meddling bystander to ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. "It is again the Lannister lion sigil in silver," explains Clapton, "but we wanted it to be abstracted further. It took more time to develop - its mane now represents the iron throne. Cersei has made it her own. She is reborn."