On the Runway: The First Female President Will Not Carry a Handbag

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On the Runway: The First Female President Will Not Carry a Handbag

And other pointers for what she would possibly perchance put on, courtesy of the sixth season of “Home of Cards.”

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Robin Wright, heart, because the president in Season 6 of “Home of Cards,” about to raise some surprising files to her cabinet.Credit scoreCredit scoreDavid Giesbrecht/Netflix

What would the first female president put on?

As Angela Merkel, erstwhile model of a latest female chief, prepares to step down as head of her celebration in Germany, and a wave of attainable presidential candidates emerges within the US, like Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand, the expect of is charge pondering. It speaks to what female leadership would possibly perchance look for like in a recent technology, one less defined by trouser suits and shining fruit-bowl colours; one tailored for a reliable majority.

We also can wisely just like the respond in a couple of years, but for other people that don’t are seeking to lend a hand, there would possibly be continuously “Home of Cards.” The trace has put loads of thought into this.

Season 6 — a.good sufficient.a., the final season, and the one without Kevin Spacey as President Francis Underwood (he has been killed off, after Mr. Spacey became once fired within the wake of sexual abuse allegations) — dropped on Friday with Claire Underwood (Robin Wright), the aged vp, within the Oval Location of enterprise. The trace is as gloomy and bent as ever, each and each by methodology of location and the corrupting psychology of energy, but it’s furthermore a pretty convincing like on how the first Madam President would possibly perchance recent herself.

Imagine the classic company swimsuit and tie spliced with the kind of a World Battle II Girls’s Army Corps member, and topped by a speed of Helmut Newton perversity, and you’ll safe the premise. Who wants shoulder pads when your seams are nick on a knife’s edge?

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French cuffs and presidential cuff hyperlinks play a role in Claire Underwood’s cloth wardrobe.Credit scoreDavid Giesbrecht/Netflix

“We obviously didn’t like a female president as a model, but I revisited the male American presidents of the past to appear for at their day-to-day put on, their saunter put on, and then thought of how that would possibly perchance per chance translate to Claire,” acknowledged Kemal Harris, who is accountable for Ms. Wright’s cloth wardrobe. (Jessica Wenger is the trace’s head costume clothier.)

It started with colours: the blue that dominated ties within the Clinton and Obama administrations, military green, gloomy and grey. Additionally tailoring: In an emblem of withhold an eye on over her atmosphere, every thing Ms. Wright’s personality wears has been exactingly seamed to fit.

And there are two surprising accessories (along on the side of her licensed vertiginous gloomy patent leather Louboutins). Or rather, one surprising accessory (cuff hyperlinks) and the surprising absence of one other: the purse.

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A military-impressed jacket.Credit scoreDavid Giesbrecht/Netflix

“Many presidents put on cuff hyperlinks from the White Home Present Shop, so I needed to safe a pair for Claire,” Ms. Harris acknowledged. She contacted the gift store (which became once once slump by the Secret Service but is now a separate for-revenue alternate not affiliated with the governmentdivision) to expect of if it had any samples that had never been vulnerable.

The gift store’s director, Anthony Giannini, sent her a pair of prototypes given to him by a Secret Service agent, now retired, who had got them beneath Ronald Reagan. Never produced, they’re fairly of smaller than licensed, extra recessed and “trim” and, in step with Mr. Giannini, “the fully ones of their type.”

As a result, Ms. Wright wears loads of shirts and dresses with French cuffs, the simpler to trace them off.

“But you never look a male president with a briefcase or a pockets,” Ms. Harris acknowledged. “So even supposing I had loads of designers reaching out to me to present their recent bags, I believed: ‘Claire is not carrying a procure. She has other people for that. She’s president.’”

Indeed, for the first time within the sequence, style labels play a barely diminutive role in Ms. Wright’s cloth wardrobe. (Within the past they made up two-thirds of her dresses, with one-zero.33 designed in particular for her.) The attach, Ms. Harris acknowledged, is that “loads of stuff you look on the runway now is avenue put on, and it honest didn’t translate.” She ended up making about 80 p.c of Ms. Wright’s cloth wardrobe herself, she acknowledged, with the tailor LaVonne Richards.

(Given the selection of ladies on the moment working for relate of enterprise, that’s a foremost lesson — and one which style itself would possibly perchance carry out wisely to trace.)

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Going to the gloomy facet.Credit scoreDavid Giesbrecht/Netflix

The few trace names that carry out trace up are Chloé (“They carry out the correct boot-nick trousers,” Ms. Harris acknowledged), Equipment (a button-down shirt) and, particularly, Celine (a gloomy satin trench from a most trendy Phoebe Philo series that Claire wears as a roughly Ninja duvet-up when she is spending time exterior the White Home).

“I sold it at Bergdorf and then had it streamlined because I knew it can perchance change into her personality,” Ms. Harris acknowledged. “It will seemingly be in a museum now.”

Sadly, political hopefuls having a gaze to borrow Claire Underwood’s style doubtlessly can’t safe that coat anymore, Philo-philes having long past into hoarder mode when the clothier left the trace earlier this 300 and sixty five days. And Ms. Harris acknowledged that the potentialities she would commercialize her efforts, step into the style gap and smash a Claire Underwood-impressed product line à la “Kingsman” suits, had been diminutive to none.

Which is too execrable, because what she came up with is titillating, in an understated, appealing methodology: a spotlight on high-neck, long-sleeve silhouettes, physique conscious but excessive, most often with epaulets or belts to evoke the military.

It’s not the classic energy swimsuit by any definition — the hunt for is each and each too austere and too feminine for that — but trace-less and trace-less because the cloth wardrobe is, it is straight away deceptively accessible and replete with the energy of refusal.

That’s not a execrable message, without a doubt, for someone with a nuclear football.

Vanessa Friedman is The Times’s style director and chief style critic. She became once previously the style editor of the Financial Times. @VVFriedman

A version of this article appears in print on

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with the headline:

The First Madam President Received’t Be Carrying a Purse

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