Monsters, mages, elves, demons, The Witcher is a combination of everything I love. You can imagine my excitement when I heard that The Witcher costume design for season two was led by Lucinda Wright who was made a 2022 Emmy® nominee for Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes.
Lucinda Wright was brought on to design the costumes for season two of The Witcher for Netflix, doing her part to ensure costume continuity from the first season while adding her own twist and subtle upgrades to the costumes. I spoke with Lucinda about her work on the show and the exciting nomination.
Oh my God! To be honest, when you’re in college, you dream about something like this. This is unbelievable. I am so excited. It is such an honor to be nominated.Lucinda Wright, The Witcher S2 Costume Designer
The show is based on the book series of the same name by Polish writer Andrzej Sapkowski. The books also led to a similar video game which is really where I came to know The Witcher. This series is clearly expansive, which led me to ask Lucinda Wright about The Witcher costume design and how she initially approached this project.
I made a very conscious effort not to look at the games. Because I think as a designer, if you start to look at any reference, it will remain in the back of your head. I obviously watched season one, and it was really important for me to pick out specific pieces to carry through. It was important to follow the scripts and develop the characters as they are in the scripts.
In terms of inspiration, I did a lot of reading on the historical bits, and then I just delved into all the things I’d always wanted to do as a child! You grow up watching all of these films, such as The Wizard of Oz, and just think about how one day you would love to do something like The Witcher.Lucinda Wright, The Witcher S2 Costume Designer
Being a costume designer new to the series, it was clearly important to Lucinda to stay true to the costumes that the fans fell in love with, while also making this project her own. With that being one of her goals, she moved to make upgrades to some costumes to enhance their look for the season as well as add more practicality for the sake of the actors.
There were a couple of characters that I didn’t change. But I did look at the script to see, for example, Yennefer had a different, softer look compared to her usual black and white. I brought in the violet of her eyes and her stone to show there was another layer to her.
My biggest passion is doing the armor, and for me, to redo Geralt’s armor and the Nilfgaard was something! I studied armor when I was a fashion student, which was quite weird because people always asked why I was doing armor. But I’ve always had a real passion for it. Being able to incorporate that into production was great. I loved it.
I wanted the fans to like it, I didn’t want to upset them and just change things. I don’t think you should ever do that and should always respect the fans. Also, working with the actors, they know their characters inside and out, like working with Joey Batey, who plays Jaskier. I just wanted to make him a bit more worldly and rugged, rougher! I gave him that raspberry leather coat, and yes, it sounds a bit weird, doesn’t it? I’ll give you a raspberry coat, more leather yet making him tougher.Lucinda Wright, The Witcher S2 Costume Designer
Even if you have never seen The Witcher, you are familiar with the infamous Geralt armor. Honestly, we are talking about some of the coolest armor I have ever seen, and I am a huge The Lord of The Rings and Game of Thrones nerd so that is saying a lot.
The first person I met was Henry Cavill, and we sat down for what was meant to be a half-hour chat. We spoke for an hour just about the armor from season one. So, I got the impression we needed to change some things. I kept the iconic studding, but I wanted it to be like a second skin. That way, he could really be agile because Geralt is really quick off his feet and also a killer. He’s a hired killer, so he should look like he could rip your head off quite easily. So we sat down, and we worked on the armor really closely together; he’s great to work with because he knows his stuff. I remember asking him about the elixir and where it comes from. Henry said, “oh, they’re magic!” So we made that leg brace on his legs so that he could have his elixir there and move his arms. Henry is just the best to work with. He is so professional and a lovely guy.Lucinda Wright, The Witcher S2 Costume Designer
One of my favorite aspects to costume design will always be the breakdown process. With all of this monster slaying, I knew Lucinda had some fun tricks up her sleeves when it came to making the costumes more worn and lived in.
We had eight sets of Geralt’s armor. Some for stunt work, one rubberized for water. I broke down these costumes in order. So when he puts it on, he’s got a claw mark on it. As the story continues, the armor progressively gets worse. I work very closely with my breakdown team, and we did have a good time doing it. That was the one thing I wanted to bring to season two; make the clothes feel lived in and real. I know it’s fantasy, but you actually believe people wear these clothes. That was really important to me.Lucinda Wright, The Witcher S2 Costume Designer
Ciri goes through quite a lot this season. Because of Ciri’s life changes, it was important that her costumes followed along in this journey.
I wanted Geralt to have his influence on Ciri so that when she does do her fighting, it’s almost like she is a mini version of him. She has her leather corset and a shirt that is kind of based on Geralt’s shirt. They kind of mirror each other. Freya Allan is great to work with! I like when actors really say what they think. I know it sounds very obvious, but if they don’t like it, they don’t wear it. It’s all about their silhouette and how they feel. The actors know these characters, so I was constantly asking them what they thought.Lucinda Wright, The Witcher S2 Costume Designer
Right away, I knew Lucinda Wright had a love for fabrics and textiles. You can tell that every detail on every costume is thought of from the lead characters, to the background characters with no lines.
The fabrics tell a story. It’s so important because when you see the costumed character on screen, you really should be able to sum up who they are. Each character has a color palette and a silhouette. As a costume designer, you should be telling that story before the character even speaks. It’s lovely that you noticed the fabric because sometimes you put so much effort into these costumes, and you hope someone notices it!Lucinda Wright, The Witcher S2 Costume Designer
Lucinda mentioned that when she was a fashion student, she studied armor. Honestly, that is probably one of the most badass things I have heard all year. Fast forward to designing the costumes for The Witcher season two, she needed a ton of armor that is both stunning and practical.
I managed to get Robert Allsopp, who I worked with 20 years ago, and he manufactured the armor. We would talk about the armor, and it was really important that it’s quite gothic, but it had to be practical. When we first stopped because of COVID, there was no mask on The Nilfgaardian helmet. When it was time to come back and film, I figured we should add a mask. You only see their eyes, and it could be anyone under there. It was a huge advantage because they look more menacing when you can only see their eyes while we protect our actors. It was interesting when we came back after COVID, they changed the scripts, and it was a lot darker. So I brought a lot more hoods and cloaks and masks. Partly so we could carry on filming, but it gave more of an edge. It was a darker world.Lucinda Wright, The Witcher S2 Costume Designer
Yennefer was after my heart with all of her costumes. I love plum colors and black, so I knew instantly that I was a Yennefer fan. Lucinda had some interesting insight into Yennefer’s costume journey this season.
Yennefer is marvelous! I wanted to bring in that purple because she’s lost her power and her hair is softer. I wanted to have another layer of color, like the plum cloak, while still keeping the black. I also wanted to have some sparkle in there. The thing about Yennefer, I know it sounds funny, but she’s got such inner strength. That’s why I did the big glitter down the backbone. She is as hard as they come, but you have to peel away the cloak. You have to take away those clothes to see that softer side of her. Anya Chalotra is amazing to dress. I worked really closely with her as well and understanding how she wanted to feel this season.Lucinda Wright, The Witcher S2 Costume Designer
With a show as huge as The Witcher, I was left wondering how this was even possible. There were so many characters with so many costumes, yet quality was always top tier. I asked Lucinda how she approached working the background characters.
The good thing about The Witcher is that you have the outline for all eight episodes. So I sit down, and I work with Rebecca Jempson, my assistant costume designer, and we will literally do a color-coded portfolio for every single episode. I work out all the looks. I present the looks for each episode, color-way, and where I’m going. Then I sit down with my team and my crowd supervisor, and I will show them the looks that I want. The supporting artists are treated as principles because they are in that one look for a whole episode. I make sure every single person looks how I want them to be. I do have a fantastic team who works so hard and, you know, I won’t be here without them. They are brilliant.Lucinda Wright, The Witcher S2 Costume Designer
The Witcher season two was a lot of fun. Thank you so much to Lucinda Wright for taking the time to talk with me and congratulations to her and Rebecca Jempson on the nomination. I’m looking forward to seeing more of work in future episodes of The Witcher!