Here I just took it for granted that Patricia Field would be masterminding the costumes on The CW’s Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries, but today I learned that she’s not involved at all! Instead, Carrie Bradshaw‘s ’80s wardrobe is under the control of Eric Daman, the costume designer for Gossip Girl. Meh. Their candy-colored tights were fun the first two seasons, but the fashions on that show have gotten way too ridiculous. Part of the fun of Sarah Jessica Parker‘s Carrie — for me, at least, since I was a preteen during the series’ run — was reading in every magazine what a fashion icon she was, then watching the show and thinking, “The fuck is everyone smoking?” Still, Pat Field’s designs gave Carrie some swagger, and everyone went along with it.
So, Eric Daman better watch this interview with Field from the Emmy TV Legends series, where she discusses SATC‘s iconic looks. The video excerpt below covers two pieces we will always associate with the series: The “Carrie” necklace and the tutu that SJP gets splashed in the opening credits. We watched the bus-meets-tutu scene (and Carrie’s look of consternation) every week for six years, and the tutu even made its way into the first movie. So of course we’re dying to know where Field found it. Was it made especially for the show? Did it come from SJP’s closet? Did it cost a month’s rent like Carrie’s vast shoe collection?
Turns out it was from a bargain bin:
“The big thing from the early days that stood out for me was the tulle skirt. We were going to shoot the opening credits, and so there were conferences about it and so on. I was in a showroom and there was a bucket on the floor, for like, five dollars each or something, and I pull out this tulle skirt, and I’m like, ‘I don’t know, let’s just take this. We’ll see.’
“So when I showed it to Sarah Jessica, she loved it. And I said, ‘Okay, so we’ll put it with a little t-shirt,’ and she loved it. She felt it. And then we had to convince Darren [Star, the show's producer]! He didn’t get it. I don’t blame him—it’s not his thing. And we were coming to him with something strange, in his mind. So we had to convince him.”
I feel like the tutu matched the spirit of the show but not the letter of it. Yes, Carrie is the type of girl who’d be so creative with her fashion choices that she’d scoop up a tutu for a few bucks. And yet, as the show progressed her stuff seemed much more expensive. Like buying a Vivienne Westwood suit for your Vogue interview, which you’re doing because you need money to pay off your outstanding debt plus the added cost of said suit. It’s difficult to envision Carrie justifying spending a month’s rent on some Manolos because she was feeling insecure, but then pairing them with some shabby-chic fashions.
You know who I can envision scoping out the vintage stores, though? Young Carrie, a.k.a. The Carrie Diaries‘ AnnaSophia Robb. When the series begins, she’s a naive girl who’s made it to New York City but doesn’t know up from down. Part of the fun (I hope) will be watching her evolve into the more confident yet still neurotic thirtysomething who’s comfortable in her dream city. But at the beginning of that journey, no one’s paying her to write, so you can bet she’ll be making a buck go a long way when it comes to her wardrobe.
So, I’m hoping that Daman will pull inspiration more from Vanessa and less from Blair. We’ve already seen plenty of photos, and some of that stuff definitely looks gently worn. However, it’s discouraging that Daman told Fashionista a few months ago that they’re using an Alex Woo “C” necklace as a nod to Carrie’s need to broadcast her name for all of Manhattan to see… seeing as those necklaces range from $158-$878. Here’s your mantra, Daman: WWPFD?