During the week of Halloween, Netflix took The Witcher to the showfloor of Lucca Comics and Games, an annual Italian event celebrating pop culture storytelling. For four straight days, the convention floor at Lucca was transformed into The Witcher‘s “Continent”, including props, local actors dressed as characters and a costume exhibition. We’ll be covering all of that below but, first things first, here are some opening words from leading stars Anya Chalotra and Freya Allan (who portray Yennefer and Ciri respectively) via an unreleased promotional video discovered on Vimeo.
The Witcher‘s experience at Lucca had four major hubs, as well as a huge exhibition of the show’s costumes. In The Menace of the Lake, a statue was erected depicting what is almost certainly the series’ first monster, the kikimore.
In The Dwarven Market, actors dressed in dwarven armor and fake beards took photos with fans, wielding axes and other weapons. Meanwhile, in The Nectar of the Elves, actors dressed as elves showed the fans how to brew a potion.
Lastly, the basement at Lucca (seen in Chalotra and Allan’s introductory video) became an underground dungeon as well as the Cintran throne room, with actors and musicians on hand to set the tone. Fans who completed the underground segment were awarded a map (which led them to the other sites) and also a witcher’s medallion.
Though the previous attractions were indeed very cool, the costume exhibition was even more impressive, having come directly from the Netflix production. Featuring the costumes of the show’s various cast-members alongside stylish descriptions, the exhibition proved just how much thought has gone into the creation of the Continent. We’ve collected the best images from the exhibition below, along with the descriptions on the costume plaques.
Many thanks to @Colluctancy and our partner Witcherflix for delivering us updates and photos throughout the event. Some of the following images were taken from the Twitter account of Breakfast in Beauclair (which you should follow if you’re looking for a Witcher lore podcast) and this lovely article from Italian news site BadtasteTV. The descriptions below (written in italics) come straight from The Witcher‘s art department.
1. Geralt’s armor
As one of the most anticipated looks of The Witcher series, Geralt’s look is also one that went through the most stages of research and fittings to get right for the show.
Inspiration for Geralt’s armour was taken directly from descriptions in the Witcher novels, as well as from references or real Medieval, Roman and ancient Eastern armour. To serve both look and function, the armour needed to be flexible could not be too heavy, and could not have any potentially dangerous elements, like sharp metal work.
This costume is made with different textures and weights of leathers, with intricate details using hammered metal stud work These pieces work together to create a cohesive look that both accentuate Henry Cavill’s athletic build, while not adding too much bulk, to allow him to move during his physical stunt performances and combat. It took around 2 weeks by a small team of specialists to complete each set of armor.
2. Yennefer of Vengerberg
This may look like a ball gown but, if you look closely, this is the “power” dress. Yennefer chooses to wear this scandalous and revealing dress to the Aretuza ball in an act of defiance when she has fully grown into her abilities by Episode 3. The original description of the dress is “leather and lace” which re-interpreted uses laser-cut leather lace mounted over a silver metallic material to reflect light from behind. The small cape with slashing over the shoulders adds a Medieval feel to the garment.
The ball at Aretuza will happen in the third episode, titled “Betrayer Moon”.
As described in the Witcher novels, Yennefer of Vengerberg only wears monochromatic black, white, and grey. This costume does not disappoint. From the first time we see Yennefer in this ensemble, fans will immediately recognize the powerful mage they know and love from the books. The over dress is inspired by Renaissance clothes with a touch of contemporary high fashion. It is made from slashed leather strips set over white silk. The undergarment is a corseted top with wide culotte pants that give the impression of a long skirt, but allow for ease of movement. This was commonly required for the story’s action scenes.
Anya Chalotra will wear this dress in episodes three and four, titled “Betrayer Moon” and “Of Banquets, Bastards and Funerals” respectively.
As with many costumes in the Witcher world, this dress is special. It is the outfit Yennefer is wearing when she first meets Geralt of Rivia in the series. The dress’s design elements earn its bondage reputation with the use of strap effects over the body, and the “cage” effect over the shoulders and arms.
The cage dress will appear in Geralt and Yennefer’s first meeting, likely in episode five.
3. Princess Ciri
May we introduce Her Highness, Princess Cirilla of Cintra. This is Ciri’s costume from the knighting scene in Episode 1, where she is seen for the first time as a regal young woman wearing a dress befitting of her status. It is a very grown-up look, hinting at her future responsibilities as eventual Queen of Cintra. The inspiration of this dress is a mixture of both gothic and 1930s fashion.
Freya Allan will wear this dress in episode one.
Ciri is forced on the run over most of the series, so this outfit had to perform two tasks. It had to have the elegance of a princess, while at the same time, needed to not draw too much attention. The “skirt” is actually a wide culotte pant allowing for free movement, as she faces her long journey to survive. The hooded sleeved cloak helps conceal her identity as Princess Cirilla. A pleated swirling detail added to the back of the cloak gives it a personal touch of the beauty and otherworldly character that is Ciri.
Ciri will be incognito most of the season, wearing this costume.
4. The Dryads of Brokilon Forest
Exhibited here are examples of both ordinary Dryads and Warrior Dryads that protect the forest. The dryads are a female only society who live within Brokilon Forest that offers them protection from the outside world. They use natural elements for both clothing and camouflage while also salvaging and re-using the spoils of war from anyone they vanquish that tries to enter or attack their forest. The design idea behind their garments is to reflect the forest environment and textures using real and imitation plant materials, natural fibres, leaves, bark, twine etc. Metal elements of armour and even some imitation human bones are also used to complete their look.
The dryads will appear in the show’s fourth episode, titled “Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials”.
5. Cintran Armor
Unequalled in war and commerce, the Kingdom of Cintra, is revered as the ultimate metropolis by some, while at the same time looked upon with hatred and disdain from others. The Cintrans regard themselves as the most sophisticated, powerful and elite kingdom of the Continent. This is reflected in their arrogant and supremacist attitude to other lesser city states, as well as in their intricate armor.
In reality, metal armor was expensive to produce and would be a way to show off wealth, especially with the use of additional decorative flourishes that enhanced the beauty of the armor and the vanity of the person wearing it. This Cintran armor, influenced by the armor of the high Italian and German Renaissance, is purposefully designed with the addition of gold relief decoration as a symbol of the superior rank, confidence, and prowess in battle of the important characters wearing it. It is seen here, as well as on Calanthe, Eist, and Danek’s armor in the series.
Cintra’s lesser ranks are kitted out in a simpler version made of silver metal. The protective padding underneath is made in silver brocade material with a silver and golden luster which further adds to the illusion of the ethereal splendor of Cintra.
The description mentions that this armor set will be used in episode one’s “Battle of Cintra”, likely the one set in the fields outside the city.
6. Queen Calanthe
Calanthe’s costumes are inspired by 1930’s Gothic, a theme in the series which helped to represent the feeling of the Kingdom of Cintra as a whole. As the Lioness of Cintra, Calanthe wears this dress to banquet after battle. It is made of gold sequins, chosen to give the dress its feeling of chain-mail, as a reflection of Calanthe’s strong juxtaposition of tradition and strength. She also wears a royal blue velvet cloak with Cintra’s iconic gold-embroidered lions.
Jodhi May will wear this dress in episode four, “Of Banquets, Bastards and Funerals”.
7. King Eist Tuirseach
King Eist wears this travel outfit when he returns to Cintra to find Calanthe in a quarrel with Geralt. It is made with a textured heavy upholstery velvet, influenced by medieval robes, Eastern touches and a nod to contemporary fashion.
Bjorn Hlynur Haraldsson will wear this costume in episode seven, “Before A Fall”.
8. Princess Pavetta
As the daughter of Queen Calanthe, Pavetta has responsibilities as a symbol of the future of Cintra. This dress was worn during a royal banquet held for her betrothal in episode 4, where various suitors from across the Continent present themselves for her hand at the Cintran court. Much like Pavetta, this lush emerald green dress has an ethereal feeling. It is cut to give a swirling effect over the bodice and sleeves, and is embroidered with fine golden thread to catch the light. Its over-skirts of fine golden-veined silk intend to give it a floating effect when caught by a breeze. To add depth, the dress has a gentle ombre of darker green tones added to the hems of both the skirt and sleeves.
This dress will be worn by Gaia Mondadori in episode four, “Of Banquets, Bastards and Burials”.
9. Tissaia de Vries
Tissaia’s dresses are mainly inspired by the late 19th century Gothic revival period. The dress silhouette is architectural and sleek to give her an authoritarian feel as Rectress of Aretuza. This dress is made in Tissala’s trademark teal color, with applique motifs down the center front, at the skirt hem, and sleeve cuffs. It also has a detachable 4 metre silk cloak which she wears wafting down the candle lit corridors.
MyAnna Buring will wear this dress in episode two, “Four Marks”.
Studying under Stregobor’s tutelage at Ban Ard school, Istredd’s colors are paired down to mainly silver, grey and black. Fabric manipulation is used on the upper part of the jacket with a corded “lightning bolt” detail to the cuffs and at the hem of the trousers. This look is an updated version of the Renaissance doublet and hose.
Royce Pierreson’s Istredd will wear this in the second episode, titled “Four Marks”.
11. Sabrina Glevissig
This ensemble, worn by the character of Sabrina, is the official uniform of all younger Novices at the Aretuza school [of Sorceresses]. The teal over-smock with applique at the shoulders and the simple linen under dress with some details around the neckline varied slightly between the girls. The look was designed to be functional and unassuming, devoid of vanity.
Therica Wilson-Read will wear this dress in episode two, titled “Four Marks”.
Other items on the exhibition
A few other items were presented at the exhibition, including Geralt’s steel sword and a lot of jewelry. Also featured were concept sketches of some of the costumes, including one that uses a famous piece of fan art of Henry as Geralt and… what looks like Eva Green’s face photoshopped on Tissaia’s costume. Perhaps she was originally considered for the role.
That’ll be all from the Witcher Exhibition at Lucca Comics and Games. All eight episodes of The Witcher‘s first season will release on Netflix this coming December 20.