‘The Witcher: Blood Origin’s Fashion Puts the Rest of Fantasy TV to Shame
Fashion and fantasy should really be best friends. You have these fantastical worlds filled with extravagant characters, so let them look the part. Yet that’s rarely the case. Our TV shows have brought us character after character wearing the same tired wardrobe — armor, heavy capes, renaissance dresses, etc., etc. But not The Witcher: Blood Origin. Queen Merwyn (Mirren Mack) in particular has brought haute couture to the world of fantasy, and after witnessing her incredible wardrobe, it’s going to be hard to go back. Minor spoilers ahead.
To be clear, if showrunners Declan de Barra and Lauren Schmidt Hissrich had just decided to give each character their own generic armored costume, that would have been fine and acceptable according to the rules of fantasy shows. But that is not how Blood Origin plays the game. Nearly every time Merwyn appears on screen, she is wearing a completely new and simply stunning dress, a garment that would make Carrie Bradshaw swoon.
But Merwyn doesn’t merely put on fabulous clothes like a peasant would. No, she serves looks. Every outfit comes with its own elaborate combination of bold makeup and honestly spectacular hair work. Just take in the cutouts, the hair, the silhouette. Is she going to an orgy? An imperial meeting? Is she about to lead an army? The occasion simply doesn’t matter because when Merwyn steps into a room, she is the occasion:
Then there’s this number that would make Blair Waldorf lose her mind. Stunning, feminine, yet deadly. And before you ask, yes, that is a small elaborate veil styled from hair:
Even when Blood Origin has to put its characters in armor, it refuses to be dull. This is what Merwyn wore to take out her brother. What better way to counter boring blacks and metals than with hours worth of braids?
I mean —
Stunning. Merwyn is so fashionably bold that she should be a judge on Drag Race. And those are just four of her many, many outfits.
Costume designer Lucinda Wright, who also worked on The Witcher Season 2, was responsible for some of these looks. The rest were borrowed from Iris van Herpen, a Dutch designer and Witcher fan known for fusing technology with couture. Hair and makeup designer Deb Watson then stepped in to complete each piece.
Mack told Decider that she would start in hair and makeup around 4 or 5 in the morning. “Most of it was my real hair, and so it was only a few times it was set with some pieces that went in,” Mack said. “It was just such an amazing experience. I really loved it and cherished their artistry as people.”
What’s marvelous about Merwyn’s costuming isn’t just how breath-taking she looks. It’s that this extravagance makes sense. Even as a princess, Merwyn has only known a life of luxury. Of course an obscenely rich woman who likes fashion would look like she stepped off the runway every second she’s on screen. We’ve all see The Real Housewives. That’s what happens when the hobby you’re passionate about is married to wealth.
These outfits are also an avenue for individualism for the cast-aside Merwyn. “I’m the person who gets the chance to play her, but it is so much of a collaboration and so the costume, the hair and makeup are such huge parts of her. That’s how she chooses to express herself,” Mack said.
Merwyn isn’t alone in her fabulousness. Michelle Yeoh’s Scian is defined by the delicate gold face markings of her lost tribe. Éile’s (Sophia Brown) hair is always a work of art that toes the line between beautiful and practical for a warrior — proof that dying some dreadlocks and calling it a day is the bare minimum. Even Chief Druid Balor (Lenny Henry) gets in on this costumed action. His series of bold and expensive-looking robes perfectly communicate that he is a desperate social climber.
Clothes are never just clothes in The Witcher, and that remains the case in Blood Origin. They’re markers of wealth, status, and ambition. By simply glancing at a character’s outfit, you can tell who’s truly at ease with their role in life, who’s trying to hide behind money, and who can socially, financially, and physically afford to stand out in this cutthroat world. In this way, The Witcher universe mirrors real life in a way most other genre universes simply don’t.
After seeing this excellence, we’re supposed to just crawl back to the muted colors of House of the Dragon or the endless capes of Rings of Power? Unacceptable. The Witcher: Blood Origin proves that we should expect more from our fantasy fashion — because when these looks deliver, they deliver.
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