Think you need a Big-size paycheck for a Carrie-size wardrobe? Think again! Last week, renowned costume designer Patricia Field invited a select group of bloggers (including me) into her Manhattan home, where she let us in on what it’s really like to dress the most fashionable women in America — and why great style is truly in the eye (and budget) of the beholder.
Q: So what goes into dressing the women of “Sex and the City”?
A: I usually have a meeting with my assistants (I used to do it myself, but now I have about five) to go through the scenes and my vision. When it came to this film, I knew there would be scenes in Morocco, so I wanted a lot of chiffon and free-flowing material. Then I sent [the assistants] out to work their magic. Once we had borrowed or purchased enough wardrobe pieces, we separated them according to character and scene, also taking into consideration background and other factors. When all of the characters are dressed and come together for a scene, that’s when the real editing begins.
Q: Were there any scenes in particular that you were dreading?
A: There’s a part in the film where each of the characters channeled an ’80s vibe, and I didn’t know how well it would translate on film. Here you have these women in their forties and fifties wearing clothing from the ’80s, and I was worried it would look a bit off, but it turned out fine in the end.
Q: Is there a piece in “SATC 2” that’s your favorite?
A: I have a lot of them, but I’d have to say it’s a silk robe worn by Samantha [Kim Cattrall]. It’s a men’s robe that has a long train, and there’s just something about it that really stands out.
Q: Was there an instance where you originally chose an item for one character and ended up using it for another?
A: I originally pictured the large-brim hat worn by Charlotte in a lot of the “SATC 2” promotions on Samantha [Kim Cattrall]. There’s also a beautiful dress worn by Miranda [Cynthia Nixon] in a wedding scene that I’d originally picked up for Samantha. It didn’t end up fitting on Kim. When Cynthia stopped by for a fitting, she tried it on and looked beautiful.
Q: How much does budget come into play when styling for a film like “SATC 2”?
A: With a film as big as “SATC 2,” it usually doesn’t. I don’t put much thought into the cost of different items, because it doesn’t matter. What matters is how something looks when it’s on. The same goes for everyday. For example, I could wear an expensive shoe like Jimmy Choo, or one of these Payless shoes [picking up a Christian Siriano for Payless shoe]. All that matters is that it’s made well and that it completes the overall look.
Q: What are some of your favorite affordable brands?
A: I like H&M, Topshop and Zara. As for shoes, I really stand by the Payless brand. If I weren’t passionate about the brand and its craftsmanship, I wouldn’t be able to work with it. Payless shoes were used on some of the characters in the film. I also like Aldo for shoes and accessories.
Q: What would you consider a fashion don’t?
A: I don’t know if there really are any fashion don’ts, because it really depends on the person’s body shape and what looks good on them. My fashion don’t is different than someone else’s don’t.
See photos from the “Sex and the City 2” premiere on All the Looks, and get the "SATC 2" look with the Patricia Field for Payless clover charm (inset), based off of that worn by SJP in the film, for only $12.99 at Payless stores nationwide.
Main Photo: Moses De Pena/Getty Images