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April 19 2014

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Gwendoline Christie: Glamazon Warrior

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Most know Gwendoline Christie for her role as the armor-clad Brienne of Tarth on HBO’s fantasy smash Game of Thrones (get ready, the new season kicks off March 31). But when Ms. Christie’s not running through a Westeros battlefield, she’s a full-fledged member of London’s tight-knit fashion pack. You might find her cheering (and we mean cheering) at a good LFW show, squeezed into the front row between Princess Julia and Lulu Kennedy (Christie never misses the runways of close friends like Roksanda Ilincic, Louise Gray, Giles Deacon, and Henry Holland, just to name a few), and the bulk of her GOT press wardrobe was courtesy of pal Richard Nicoll. The six-foot, three-inch actress actually got her start modeling in student shows at the London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins. “I feel quite passionately about London Fashion,” Christie told Style.com. “I think some of the most creative and interesting and brilliant people I know are involved in fashion, and I’m lucky enough that they’re my friends.”

Naturally, however, playing a die-hard warrior will have an effect on one’s look. “I had to cut my hair for Game of Thrones, which I found really hard. I find it quite embarrassing to admit that, but I think a lot of a woman’s femininity is tied up with her hair. Afterward, I had quite a big style overhaul,” says the actress, noting she used to study film-noir stars and covet a “sex bomb” Marilyn Monroe aesthetic. “Now, I look to people like Jean Shrimpton, Katharine Hepburn, Twiggy, and Greta Garbo in her more masculine stage.” Christie’s since embraced her ultra-androgynous makeover (pretty on trend, if we do say). “I think that’s more interesting—like a modern reimagining of femininity.”

That being said, the actress looks anything but manly in her favorite wares, like a sultry Richard Nicoll Linder Sterling-print gown with a slit up the side, a custom Giles spider-print dress, or her sequined Louise Gray frock with “an exposed zipper and a black rubber print.”

As for her GOT armor, Christie says it makes her get into character. “It’s incredibly heavy and restrictive, which is actually quite helpful because it alters my posture, and anything that physically impacts you affects your internal world and makes it easier to communicate your character,” she explains. “And [costume designer] Michele Clapton is brilliant.” Apparently, Brienne’s attire was inspired by Joan of Arc, as well as another one of Christie’s “favorite style icons,” English writer Vita Sackville-West. “She had an infamous gardening outfit of britches, knee-high lace-up boots, and a belted tunic.” As we’re sure you can see, Christie knows her stuff—from the catwalk to the castle.

Photo: Stuart Wilson/ Getty Images (Gwendoline Christie at the Fall 13 Richard Nicoll show); Helen Sloan / Courtesy of HBO (Gwendoline Christie in Game of Thrones)

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