Whether you spent the weekend binging on all 13 episodes of Season 3, or you're slowly savoring every moment of the Underwoods' White House reign, there's no doubt that House of Cards’s newly minted First Lady, Claire Underwood, caught your eye in her perfectly tailored ensembles. We caught up with Robin Wright’s longtime stylist, Kemal Harris, who joins the Netflix original series as costume designer, to get the scoop. "Gone is the power suit of seasons past," says Harris. "I wanted to show a little bit of her character's vulnerability through her wardrobe, which I think we accomplished with softer colors, lighter materials, and fuller skirts." Read on for a peek at what goes on behind the scenes in the show's wardrobe department.
Wright Has a Wardrobe Body Double
"We have amazing tailor who has a mannequin built to Robin’s exact measurements so we can sew into the night without her having to be there for all of the fittings," explains Harris, who says that about one third of Claire's looks are custom-designed. As for the looks that aren't custom, Harris turns to the runways. "We gravitate towards American designers, like Joseph Altuzarra, Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors, Proenza Schouler, Jason Wu, and Derek Lam," she says. "But we also love Armani, Alexander McQueen, and Burberry."
Claire's Watch Is a Nod To Jackie O
"Robin's character wore a classic Cartier Tank watch in Seasons 1 and 2, but for Season 3 we swapped it for a Cartier Tank Louis timepiece with a brown leather strap," says Harris. "This same style was worn by Jackie Kennedy over the years, so it was a little nod to her influence."
Harris Gets Some Serious Spoilers
"One thing that’s bittersweet about working on this show is that I have to read all the scripts, so I know everything that's going to happen," explains Kemal. "Without revealing too much, I will say that I knew there would be a confrontation between Claire and Francis before they pose for their presidential portrait. I anticipated her flinching when he put his hand on her shoulder, so I created a boat-neck style where her shoulder would be exposed—a literal cold-shoulder."