ach week we present an influential woman whose career and style has inspired the team at Silkarmour to aim higher and dress better. This week’s Silkarmour woman is Robin Wright; actress, director and co-found of women’s charity Pour Les Femmes - with style inspiration taken from her impeccably dressed House of Cards character, Claire Underwood.
Netflix producer David Fincher sold the female lead of a new political thriller to Wright on the premise Underwood was like a marble bust. “Your job is to remain immovable” Fincher said, “and it’s everyone else’s job to orbit you.” But it’s not Wright’s ability to be still and silent that has earned her Emmy nominations and won a Golden Globe but her degree of concentration to each role, something that Tom Hanks declared “almost intimidating”. First rising to fame in 1987, Wright played the stereotypical Princess Buttercup in The Princess Bride, then followed by the internationally acclaimed Forrest Gump alongside Hanks in 1994, as the naïve love-interest Jenny. Both characters are controlled by their circumstances - be it social or economic - and ultimately saved by a man who has romantically pursued her from the beginning.
Claire Underwood, lead female role in Netflix political thriller House of Cards, however is “the best of both genders” according to Wright. The modern-day Lady Macbeth, Underwood is the embodiment of a cold, cunning and manipulative villain, pitched to Wright by Fincher as a marble bust Despite first being identified as ‘the wife’ of the lead character Democratic majority whip Frank Underwood, it becomes clear early on that Claire pulls the puppet strings; the monotone voice, the undefeatable pokerface, the sharp wardrobe and the absence of emotion sets Claire above Frank in the political battlefield without any need for justification. “Claire is a woman of few words, but well-chosen and powerful words” Wright told Vanity Fair, “she doesn’t bloviate. When she speaks, it’s powerful, potent, fast.” Indeed, she is the woman who told a pregnant colleague to whom she was withholding medication, she was “willing to let that child wither and die inside of you” if she didn’t corporate. Said with such blunt sincerity and without blinking, the viewer realises Claire has known how to throw a political punch long before Frank did – and Wright executes each scene with such confidence, it’s hard to focus on anyone else.
Wright’s work behind the camera is just as polished and the freedom she’s been given by Netflix demonstrates that good things come to those who wait. She directed one episode during season two of House of Cards and four in the fourth season, confessing to The Guardian that she had been “biting my tongue” for the past 30 years on set and that she’d happily direct full-time from now on. Her episodes are wildly creative it their format, yet they never stray from the uncompromising personality of the show, fitting into the unfolding story line seamlessly.
One thing Wright does have in common with Underwood (in season one at least) is her charitable pursuits. Her co-founded charity, Pour Les Femmes (PLF) was founded off the back of her experiences in travelling to Eastern Congo with the Enough Project. Working with a charity that investigates crimes against humanity in conflict-stricken areas, and now survivors of sexual abuse, she became “impassioned with helping these women” and raises funds through the sales of chic and elegant nightwear – some of which Underwood wears on the show. “You’re looking in their eyes, and you know they’ve been broken” Wright said of the victims, “some of them will never be able to stand up again because they’ve been so brutally raped. It’s unspeakable."
Above all, Wright is put on a pedestal for her honesty. Always open about the struggle to find the perfect role, she very content in being "a late bloomer", having spent her teens being "painfully shy" and working alone in Tokyo as a model. “I used to lie in wait and hope to see what roles would come in. But my new ambition is to go out and find what I want. I totally have the bug now."
- "Go wrong and you'll find right"
- "Never do something that feels off"