At this point in their career, Emma D’Arcy has only walked three red carpets. A relative newcomer to acting, the 30-year-old had a handful of small roles in various TV shows before landing the part of the bleach-blonde Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon, the prequel to Game of Thrones. But the looks they wore for the events celebrating the hotly anticipated series were unequivocal style-wins—meaning D’Arcy’s red carpet fashion track record is near-perfect.
Of course, a premiere can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. And when D’Arcy stepped out onto the carpet in Los Angeles last month, they were initially overwhelmed. “The red carpet especially is a very unnatural environment,” they told W over email. “It’s not normal to have that much attention focused on you—and it’s a lot of cameras if you’re camera-shy.” It helps, then, that D’Arcy brought reinforcements in the form of “armor and a mask,” or the looks pulled together with the guidance of their stylist, Rose Forde.
It’s easy to see why D’Arcy describes their outfits using militia terminology. The Los Angeles premiere last month saw D’Arcy in an all-black look: an oversized Vetements suit paired with steel-toed chunky sneakers—an outfit fit for modern battle. For London, though, D’Arcy explains they were more so dressing for a party. While the second look has that edge D’Arcy has managed to make their signature with those few carpets, it’s more, “self-consciously ‘dressed-up’ and drippingly romantic in equal measure,” as they described it.
The romance is obvious in the rich lurex vest that hung low over D’Arcy’s striped chiffon shirt. The piece looks almost like protective chainmail from far away, but up close, invokes bright and cheerful Christmastime tinsel. A custom look from Acne Studio’s spring 2023 collection, D’Arcy was drawn to the brand because of the “playful theatricality in their design,” a notion that is obvious in D’Arcy’s choice for the event.
Here, D’Arcy (and their glam team) shares with W a glimpse into their getting ready process for the London premiere, and reveals what it’s been like to enter into the world (and fanbase) of George R.R. Martin.
“We bleached the hair a week before the premiere, so we had some roots coming through—which adds depth and texture,” said Jody Taylor, D’Arcy’s hairstylist. “The styling is very much inspired by the Blitz kids, but with a stripped-back, modern approach to make it feel believable, and not like a caricature.”
After D’Arcy bleached their hair, makeup artist Justine Jenkins decided bleaching the eyebrows was the obvious next step. “No mascara and the bleached brow kept the look otherworldly,” Jenkins said.
“There’s a quality of ‘found-object’ to their work which I love; each individual piece feels like it has a history,” said D’Arcy of Acne.
“[Acne Studios’] clothing feels performative—like the child who has raided their parent’s closet and come out wearing a satin gown and father’s brogues.”
“I don’t want to assume that we’ve automatically inherited anything from Game of Thrones,” D’Arcy said about existing in the hit show’s universe. “We’re following in its wake, for sure, and there’s a lot of pressure to live up to the enormous expectations. But House of the Dragon has to be its own thing.”
“The screening was fun. I loved watching it with a full audience for the first time. I’m also not in the first episode, so it’s one that I can watch as a fan.”