Stylist Kemal Harris on dressing Robin Wright for 'House of Cards'

For many of the women obsessed with House of Cards, character Claire Underwood and her power dressing play a big role in our love of the Netflix series. The stylist behind Robin Wright’s power-hungry partner to Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood, Kemal Harris, hopped on board for the latest season, after already styling Robin Wright on the red carpet.

Scroll below for an exclusive clip of Robin in action


Robin Wright as Claire Underwood in House of Cards

Read More: Robin Wright: ‘I’m tired of biting my tongue on sets’

How does Robin’s personal style differ from her character Claire’s?
“Robin wears a lot more trousers. She has more of a masculine style, which is very New York. You need to be more efficient in the city; you can’t run around in pencil skirts. Claire is very much the pencil skirts and high heels kind of girl.”

Why did Robin bring you in for S3?
“We’ve been working together for a few years now and I understand the way she likes to approach characters. She straight out asked me if I’d be interested in dressing her character, and I couldn’t say no.”

How has Claire’s style evolved?
“I wanted to soften Claire’s looks because now she’s the First Lady, those power suits of the past can take a break because she’s landed at the highest pinnacle. Claire will never leave her pencil skirts or jackets behind because that’s who she is but we went for a little more softness with fuller skirts and more colour. We brought in deep burgundies, dark greens, a dark raspberry (that contrasted with her brunette hair well) and lots of neutrals. Director David Fincher’s vision is very neutral so we don’t use primary colours.”

House of Cardsseason 3 will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on 29 June

What was the inspiration behind her more 1940s-esque look?
“Robin watched a couple of classic films like The Maltese Falcon and Adam’s Rib with Katherine Hepburn which both have strong women with interesting wardrobes and showed them to me. They had really cool shapes in the shoulders of their jackets, outfits with a defined waist and wore really beautiful soft colours.”

Which designers does Claire wear the most?
“We try to use as many American designers as possible so we use Ralph Lauren, Dolce and Gabbana and Derek Lam. And, I rework vintage patterns from the 40s and 50s that I source online to make custom pieces. There’s also a store called New York Vintage that has a lot of stuff from different eras."

How do Claire’s clothes change according to her situation?
“Her clothes change to her situation. I tried to use black sparingly so that I could use it more when her character is having a bad day or getting bad news. There’s a scene where she has a big confrontation so I designed a two piece dress in a deep burgundy (as we’re not allowed to use red because of David Fincher’s aesthetic) to show anger.”

Robin stars opposite Kevin Spacey in the drama

What’s the secret to Claire’s wardrobe?
“It’s really all about the tailoring. I have a tailor here in New York who has worked with Robin for years and we have a mannequin with her exact measurements so that we can make sure everything fits perfectly. That’s the key to Claire’s success when she’s wearing Anne Taylor or Armani – it’s the tailoring. Everything is perfect.”

What’s your best style secret?
“Tailoring. Just a quick tweak of the hem can make your legs look thinner!"”

Can we expect to see a collection based on Claire’s look?
“I hope so, that would be a dream for sure.”

Can you give us any hints about the next series?
“Claire’s storylines were really interesting in season three and season four is going to get even better!”

See our exclusive clip of Robin as Claire here:

House of Cards: S3 is out on Blu-ray & DVD 29 June.

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