How the Professionals Make House of Cards’ Claire Underwood the Best Dressed Leading Lady
Robin Wright’s Claire Underwood is television’s best-dressed leading lady. Long after the season two binge watching has come to an end, Claire’s smooth lines, bracelet-length jacket sleeves, and forties-inspired high-waisted skirts have left us all wanting more.
Like the character herself, Claire’s fashion demands respect, and symbolizes her stature amongst House of Cards fictional D.C. elite. The lack of color in her wardrobe is more akin to what is typically worn by professional men, yet her hemlines and necklines consistently reinforce her femininity. Whether it’s the clothes that make the woman or the woman that makes the clothes, one thing is certain Claire – in all her monochrome glory – is a force no one wants to go up against.
House of Cards’ costume designer, Johanna Argan, has given women’s professional wear a first class makeover, and this clearly isn’t her first rodeo. Argan has dressed Cards’ Kevin Spacey in several short films, as well the cast of Catch .44, and Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl’s Killers, to name a few former projects. Now, as Netflix watchers nationwide embrace HoC style, Argan shares some insider knowledge on dressing the show’s cast and how to nail Claire’s flawless look.
SharpHeels: What is your inspiration for dressing the women of House of Cards?
Johanna Argan: I look to [real-life] women in politics, not only in D.C., but around the world as well. I also use women in history, like Jackie Kennedy.
SH: The women of HoC are incredibly powerful, modern-day anti-heroes, and that comes across in their clothing – how do you do it?
JA: First, I honestly always think about what does a real person in this character’s position wear in their day-to-day life. What is their environment? For the purpose of our show, that environment happens to be mostly set in a Washington, D.C. political landscape.
SH: Who are your Favorite Designers and which ones do you use on the show?
JA: I am a huge Dior, Ralph Lauren and The Row fan. On the show we use a spectrum of designers for our women because there are simply more choices. For the men I use Burberry and Ralph Lauren quite a bit.
SH: Who is the most fun character to dress?
JA: No favorites – I try to approach each character with the same amount of attention. However, it’s so fun to dress the ladies, Frank and Remy.
SH: What are the three biggest tips or insider tricks for achieving Claire Underwood’s look?
JA: Monochromatic palette; simple, classic silhouettes; and tailoring.
SH: There’s lots of talk about a new project of yours – can you tell us what you’re currently working on?
JA: I just finished another political pilot called Agent X [reportedly starring another silver screen to TV queen, Sharon Stone, as Vice President], and a Loreal commercial with the legendary director, Joel Schumacher.
Photos courtesy of Nathaniel Bell for Netflix16
TAGS: House of Cards Netflix Robin Wright TV fashion