An evening with Sarah Jessica Parker
“Sex & the City” has been off the air for just over 10 years and yet when women know they will be in the presence of Sarah Jessica Parker, AKA Carrie Bradshaw, they put on their best heels, most stylish dresses and flock to worship her. After all, Carrie Bradshaw is the reason so many wide-eyed single women moved to New York with fantasies of love, friendship, career and of course, shoes.
This is exactly what happened last Thursday at the 92Y in Manhattan where Sarah Jessica Parker was interviewed by Jonathan Tisch (wearing a fabulous Tracy Reese dress and blazer she designed for Halston). The talk focused on her career, including her much buzzed about new shoe line, SJP but also about her love of the city. Parker moved to Manhattan from Ohio with her large family to pursue show business (she was already a Broadway and television vet by the time she turned 12).
Parker starred as “Annie” on Broadway and then did the short-lived but loveable show Square Pegs before launching a fabulous career in film including L.A. Story, Ed Wood, Honeymoon in Vegas and The First Wives Club. But it was in 1997 that her career would change forever when she received the script for a show called “Sex & the City” for a network called HBO.
She shot the pilot in 1997 and then actually forgot about the show for a while as she wanted to return to theater. When they wanted her to film more episodes Parker suddenly found herself not wanting to be a part of this rather risque show (and keep in mind this is the late 1990s, before HBO exploded). She pleaded with the network and said she would do anything to get out of it but she was convinced to shoot two more episodes. She showed up for filming on the first day and said, “I didn’t regret one moment spent on it.”
And why would she regret it as that show made her a household name, earned her a Golden Globe and an Emmy and made both her and her character synonomous with New York fashion. It also led to two major motion pictures. As for a third Sex & the City film being made Parker told the audience that the topic has never been seriously discussed. “It’s not that I’m inhospitable (to the idea). We just haven’t felt it’s the right time to talk about it,” she said.
And it’s not like Parker isn’t extremely busy. In addition to her film and television career, this year she launched a shoe line. This isn’t Parker’s first foray into retail as she had a line called Bitten with the now defunct Steve & Barry’s and she also has a fragrance line The way she described coming up with their names was absolutely adorable. “I couldn’t believe no one else had used it! It’s the most perfect name for a perfume!”
Shoes was clearly a natural move as Carrie Bradshaw was known for her fabulous footwear. But Parker wanted to make a shoe that women could actually afford and actually walk in. “There’s nothing sexy about not being able to walk and I feel somewhat responsible!” Not everyone is born with the ability to skip around the city in three-inch heels though so many women wished they could. She created the line, called SJP, for Nordstrom with George Malkemus, president of Manolo Blahnik USA.
The shoes are not cheap, but they are well made. The prices will range from $195 to $485. “I wouldn’t offer a shoe that would fall apart in two weeks.”
She says SJP will soon roll out bags and coats as outerwear goes naturally with shoes but she is being careful to not expand too quickly. “I would like it to grow in a smart and prudent way,” she said. “I’ve seen lots of emerging designers grow too quickly and it kills them.”
As for that whole being responsible for making so many single women flock to New York thing, Parker said she is okay with that. “[New York] is still that beacon. Every time you walk out the door there is just enormous potential because you’re not getting in a car. I’m excited for your future [single women]. I hope that the city does right for you.”
That’s a pretty good guardian angel to have single ladies.