Carrie's Best Looks Ever
Carrie's Best Looks Ever
1. The Famous Tutu!
Carrie Bradshaw changed the game of fashion: She made tutus work in Times Square and put Manolo Blahnik on the map. To celebrate the arrival of the much-anticipated sequel, we sat down with series' costume designers Patricia Field, Rebecca Weinberg and Eric Daman-as well as our very own fashion director Hal Rubenstein-to compile a list of Ms. Bradshaw’s greatest hits.
1. The Famous Tutu!
Field set the tone for Carrie’s always-unexpected style when she opted for a tutu and tank look she described as “quirky” for the series’ opening credits. “I remember I bought that tutu for $5!” said Weinberg. “amp#91;Our seamstressamp#93; had to duplicate it because we knew in the sequence it was going to get wet.” We saw the famed tutu again in the first film when Carrie did a closet clean out with the help of her best friends before she moved in with Big. The girls’ unanimous vote? A must-keep!
2. Pat Field’s All-Time Favorite
Asked to identify her favorite piece, Field didn’t hesitate to name the drop-dead gorgeous Versace gown Carrie wore while waiting (and waiting) for Petrovsky on her first night in Paris, towards the end of season 6. “It took you out of reality,” she said. Rubenstein agreed: “It’s acres and acres of tulle and chiffon, in this darkly romantic color—the perfect dress to be dumped in. There’s nothing more woeful than seeing a beautiful woman all dressed up with nowhere to go.”
3. The “He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not” Dress
“That was a moment in the show where it was like, ‘It’s happening or it’s not happening; he loves her or he doesn’t,’” Weinberg said of the time Carrie memorably fell into the lake with Big in Season 3 wearing this Richard Tyler dress. “Richard made two of those dresses for us in less than two weeks time!” She paired it with a Louis Vuitton handbag and vintage shoes. “Those clear vintage shoes were so beautiful with little rhinestones pressed into the plastic, and that bag was a total church lady bag!”
4. The “Carrie” Necklace
“One day my car broke down so I had to take the train and I saw all these great Italian girls with their nameplate necklaces,” said Weinberg of the inspiration behind the iconic necklace. “For Christmas I went down to Canal Street and made Pat one that said 'Patricia' that she just loved. So then I went down and made SJP’s there too!” Leave it to Carrie to pair such a downtown accessory with the most uptown of dresses. “I remember that beautiful vintage dress. It was from the ‘50s. I want to say it came from Twice in Miami,” Weinberg recalled. “Pat and I would spend a lot of time in Miami. We’d get in her Oldsmobile and drive around to all our favorite vintage and thrift stores.”
5. The High and Low Mix
"This is a fun combination of high and low," Rubenstein said, referring to Carrie’s season 5 ensemble, which included a sweater from mall staple Club Monaco, a dress by department store favorite Nanette Lepore and a Chanel jacket. Added Weinberg: "I love the color!"
6. The Newsworthy Dress
Field didn’t mind revealing that Carrie will revisit past favorites, like this John Galliano for Christian Dior newsprint dress, in the new movie. “There’s a reason for it,” she hinted. “She has an experience that merits re-wearing it.” Is the original context—she donned this dress in season 3, when she apologized to Natasha for her affair with Big—a clue?
7. The Fresh-Off-The-Runway Vest
By the time Carrie was preparing to marry Mr. Big in the first movie, she (and the SATC costume designers) had no trouble securing super-current styles, like the Proenza Schouler military vest and studded strappy sandals from their Spring 2008 collection. “Everyone wanted their clothes on the show,” Weinberg said. “Boxes and boxes would arrive daily.”
8. Carrie’s Signature Flower
“SJP was really into the flowers. One day she said, ‘Lets do a big flower.’ They started small and got larger and larger and then it escalated into a comedy of flowers,” Weinberg told us. “This is Holly Golightly’s black sheath and pearls. It inspired real fashion to use flowers as accessories,” said Rubenstein. We loved the rest of the outfit too-hello, Dior saddle bag! “This is a beautiful Americana tailored look, it’s very Grace Kelly. Those pants were half-lined to the knee-I think I borrowed them a few times,” said Weinberg of the gorgeous Season 3 Tuleh trousers.
9. Carrie’s Parisian Stripes
“There isn’t anyone more synonymous with Paris than Sonia Rykiel. amp#91;Carrie’samp#93; in Paris, so she’s wearing a classic Parisian knitwear designer," said Rubenstein of Carrie’s all-striped ensemble in Season 6. "I wouldn’t love this in N.Y.C., but it’s so right for the scene. What could make more sense than being in the city of love with your love, wearing things that are soft and romantic-and with an interpretation of her signature flower, of course!”
10. “Goodbye to Big” Louboutins
The ruffled, rose Louboutins that Carrie chose for her goodbye to Big at the end of season 4 were only one pair in a long line of truly stunning stilettos (good thing, too, as they were wrecked when Miranda’s water broke all over them). Carrie spent, by her own reckoning, tens of thousands of dollars on shoes over the course of the series, but Weinberg insisted that it was writer/director Michael Patrick King who turned many a shoe designer into household names. “He was the one who said, ‘Let’s talk about Manolo.'”
The "Around the Way" Look
"That's what Pat would call an 'around the way' look," Weinberg said of Carrie's kooky combination of tie-dye leggings, a bright blue kerchief, and a wildly patterned Chanel blouse. "She looks like a girl from the Bronx, or Brooklyn." Rubenstein seemed equally amused by the outfit, although he disagreed about the provenance: "This is Carrie in cartoon land! But does it make me laugh? Of course." Daman, for his part, is still a fan. "This look still has edge," he said, "and lots of MTV appeal."
Pat’s Patchwork Coat
The colorful patchwork coat that Carrie wore to stalk Aidan after Stanford spotted him in the Sunday Times in Season 3 was, Weinberg reported, actually one of Field's personal pieces. "We just threw this together," she said of the outfit. "It was one of those moments we didn't plan out." Rubenstein guessed as much. "This look is more Pat than Carrie," he said. "Pat was a pioneer downtown designer, and the streak of downtown club girl that runs through Carrie's wardrobe comes from Pat Field."
Carrie's Not-So-Classic Nautical
Carrie and Samantha's coordinated sailor styles put both Field and Weinberg in mind of a classic 1960s girl group. "It's like they're the Supremes," Field said. Daman, too, looked fondly back at Carrie's "cool, contemporary, and casually chic" take on the nautical trend. "I love it for TV," Rubenstein said, but that doesn't mean he thinks that aspiring fashionistas should follow suit. "I don't think anyone should dress like this."
Carrie’s Vintage Striped Suit
Carrie's cropped, striped vintage suit is "very Joe DiMaggio, 1939," according to Weinberg. And it turns out that the inspiration for at least part of this season 4 ensemble was Weinberg herself."The newsboy hat was very much my look at the time."
The "Running Errands" Romper
Carrie was often ahead of her time: While this Claude Pierlot one-piece struck many fans as being a little too bare when Carrie wore it to the farmer's market in season 4, Daman was quick to point out that "Rompers are currently one of the biggest trends going, and Carrie was one of the first to openly embrace them."
The Do-Rag/Prom Dress Combo
"Anytime she puts that rag on her head, I kind of hold my breath," Rubenstein said. And the Hermes scarf Carrie paired with a pink vintage prom dress is no exception. "This is TV, not fashion," he explained. Weinberg seconded his opinion: "This looks like something Katy Perry would wear to the Grammys," she said. "And those white Manolo pumps were like a Catholic-schoolgirl-gone-bad."
The Visible Bra Look
"This is not one of my shining moments," Weinberg admitted. Peek-a-boo lace underthings were a Carrie staple, but the look, seen here in season 5, didn't always work. "I have a problem with the cropped pants and the major bra," Rubenstein said. Nor did he welcome the return of the dreaded do-rag. "It's so much cuter," he advised, "to show a little hair above the forehead. Then it looks like you're wearing a scarf."
Carrie’s Fur Coat
Carrie's fur coat, which she first wore in season 1, became a go-to layering piece for the costume designers. "When you love something, like that coat, you say, 'Okay, this is something Carrie is going to rotate a lot,'" Weinberg explained. At first, though, she and Field weren't even sure if Sarah Jessica would agree to wear it, "because it's raccoon, and it stank." The New York City designer consignment store Ina allowed Weinberg to borrow the coat at first, and ultimately sold it for the bargain price of $200.
The "Meet Carrie!" Outfit
"This is Carrie's ‘How do you do?’ moment,” Rubenstein said of the demure Romeo Gigli dress Carrie wore early on in Season 1. “This show wouldn’t have been a success if we didn’t fall in love with Carrie." As for Weinberg? “I think she looks like a candy striper,” she said.
Weinberg didn't recognize Carrie's season 1 mini-dress: "It's kind of generic, just a sexy, close-fitting dress. Was it spectacular? No, but you could put SJP in a pair of inside-out sweatpants and a pair of Manolo Blahniks and she’d look good,” she said. Offered Rubenstein, “This is how you dress to go to a club. There's a little bit of sparkle, because the lighting is dim. Carrie wouldn't wear jeans to a club because she'd want to make an entrance.”
The Masterfully Mixed Outfit
“The mix of the heavy metal belt and the soft, feminine floral print is so Carrie,” said Daman of this colorful ensemble from Season 2. “She changed fashion by showing you can belt almost anything, and her mixing of metals—the gold bag with the sterling belt—was very fashion forward.” The look also struck Rubenstein as directional, although in a slightly different way: “Carrie taught us that you don’t go shopping in a T-shirt and a pair of jeans, you go shopping dressed as if you’ve already bought something.”
The Fendi Baguette
“This is the beginning of the Fendi metamorphosis, when every bag she carried was a Fendi. The store was really great to us at that time. They would just be like, ‘Take whatever!’” explained Weinberg. “Eventually, the Baguette became a status symbol; in that moment, we were literally creating around outfits around the Fendi bag.”
“Shazam! Who else could make a sequined caftan so sexy?” asked Daman of the sheer vintage tunic Carrie wore on a girls weekend in Los Angeles in Season 3. “The elegance and simplicity of her black bikini with the flash and sheer dash of the cover-up are a perfect demonstration of Carrie's take on fabulous—a timeless mix of class and sass!”
The Engagement Ring Necklace
In Season 4, Carrie paired a classic white Badgley Mischka gown with her engagement ring (worn as a necklace much to Aidan’s dismay). “This look doesn’t really characterize the beginning of Carrie. This is what she evolved to-it was a symbolic time,” said Weinberg. “This is real New York sophistication,” agreed Rubenstein. “Every girl would love to be Audrey Hepburn for just one scene, and this is SJP’s.”
The Forgotten Sweater
“This is Roberto Cavalli. We had that top for years in our wardrobe: I think we bought it at a sample sale,” said Weinberg. And fittingly, the plot followed their lead—Carrie stumbled upon the forgotten sweater while cleaning out her closet in Season 4. “I didn’t love this then, but I do love it now,” added Rubenstein.
Carrie’s Statement-Making Coat
Of the nude Calvin Klein dress and colorful vintage coat Carrie wore in Season 6, Weinberg said, “That’s another one of those ‘I threw it on’ kind of looks, but she totally made it work!” Indeed, fans everywhere took inspiration from Carrie's style. “This is the Carrie where you start taking notes,” said Rubenstein. “In other cities a coat is just used for warmth, but in N.Y.C. we see your outerwear, so your outerwear really needs to make a statement.”
The "Date With The Russian" Dress
“Late in Seasons 6, Carrie fell in love with Petrovsky, the Russian artist who wanted her to live in Paris. All of a sudden her world became about ballet, art, and once again the clothes make a shift,” said Rubenstein. Here Carrie wore an Oscar de la Renta dress to the Met . . . and McDonalds. “The clothes became more serious.”
The Compromising Boots
Shopping in Paris, Carrie wore a pink Betsey Johnson bustier, Lanvin coat and knee-high boots (which were to blame for a horrifying tumble in the exclusive Dior boutique). Said Weinberg: “The boots compromised the outfit's sophistication, and the bustier stood out. This all looks a little bit mismatched to me, which was obviously purposeful.” Agreed Rubenstein: “Carrie never did anything accidentally—she knows exactly what she’s doing!”
Carrie’s Home-Again Fur
“This is Carrie shaking off whatever she left in Paris,” said Rubenstein of the colorful vintage outfit she topped with her signature coat after Big rescued her in Season 6. “She’s back in N.Y.C. which is all about a series of clashing: mixing high and low, uptown and downtown. This is when Carrie’s real style takes over again.”
The Very Carrie Suit
"There's an exuberance here," Rubenstein said, referring to the cream Ralph Lauren suit and pink button-down that Carrie wore in the first movie. "She is so happy to be in New York City and in love with Big."
The Westwood Wedding Dress
"Carrie was always the eclectic girl," said Pat Field, so when it came time for her to wed Big, she chose an anything-but-ordinary Vivienne Westwood gown. “Pat created the ultimate look for the ultimate day,” explained Rubenstein. “I would never want to see anyone in real life wear that blue-green feather head-dress on their veil, but if Carrie didn’t have something so out of the ordinary, I would’ve been incredibly disappointed!”
Carrie’s Vintage Prints
“I do love labels, but I love all kinds of intelligent clothing,” Field said, and her continual use of vintage in the first film proved it. Fields must love intelligent accessories too: She added an Eiffel Tower bag by Timmy Woods to the one-of-a-kind outfit-a subtle homage to the city that brought Big and Carrie together (again).
The Mesh Pumps
“The '80s were always important to Pat,” said Weinberg. “She came from the nightlife and club scene and has always been influenced by that.” For Carrie, Field paired an edgy, punk belt with a simple pink shift and pearls, masterfully mixing downtown cool with uptown chic. "Carrie had the ability to switch," Weinberg explained. "That, to me, makes fashion."
Tutu Number 2!
The purple ballgown skirt Carrie wore when she ran into Aidan in the second movie started it's life as a slip, Field said. "It actually under gown, but it was so pretty. I was like, let's make this a skirt and put it with a t-shirt. It had that same quirkiness as that short tutu from the series’ intro scene.”