No matter how well the wedding day goes, you rarely get to wear the same bridal gown twice. In the case of Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), memories of the ceremony that never was from the first Sex and the City movie are far from happy. Now, 15 years later, Carrie is reclaiming the custom Vivienne Westwood gown’s narrative in the And Just Like That… second season premiere for one of the starriest nights on the fashion calendar. Yes, Carrie and her friends are off to the Met Gala!
While none of the characters will get to walk the famous Met steps, as those are only for celebrities (much to Harry’s dismay), everyone is pulling out all the stops for the “Veiled Beauty” theme. Lisa Todd Wexley (Nicole Ari Parker)—who purchased the table—practically stops traffic in a stunning crimson custom Valentino and black headdress. Meanwhile, Seema (Sarita Choudhury) is a vision in a caped fall 2020 RTW bronze Balmain gown. Charlotte (Kristin Davis) takes a different approach to polo attire in a custom, My Fair Lady-inspired ensemble with a contemporary latex corset and glove. Her hat is from legendary milliner Stephen Jones, and it is an archival piece from “a John Galliano show from the early 2000s,” co-costume designer Danny Santiago explains.
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Carrie also looked to the past, but repurposing her pain was not the writer-podcaster’s original plan. Instead of being able to wear the gown she had envisioned (designed by Jackie’s wife, Smoke), a last-minute disaster leads to this sustainable fashion moment. For Carrie, she only has to go into her closet to find the famous strapless corset dress. In reality, it was a lot further away.
“We read the scripts. We saw it was there, we called London [the Vivienne Westwood archive], they did some repairs, they sent it over, and it fit her,” says fellow AJLT costume designer Molly Rogers. “The bluebird was still alive. We were able to get that.” The infamous bird from the first SATC movie (Patricia Field designed the movies and SATC series) lives to tell another day, and this is the first of two previously contentious accessories that got a second chance at sitting on Parker’s head.
Whereas the final Met Gala gown was scripted, Carrie’s first-choice dress wasn’t set in stone. “We brought in lots of different ideas. We brought in some dresses that already existed,” says Santiago. “We had some muslins made of ideas of types of dresses with silhouettes that we were going to build onto.” The striking bluebird influenced the color choices of the too-tight and unfinished column dress and Smoke’s addition to the original wedding dress. “We were thinking a cape would be beautiful. That’s something people wear to the Met to bring it up the next notch,” says Santiago.
The dramatic piece originally came from a teal frock among the dresses on the racks “That is the bottom of a vintage ball gown; we took the bodice out, and that is the waist and the bottom of the ball gown that we converted into a cape,” says Santiago. Everything old is new again, whether a bridal gown tied to a painful past or a dress that can become a completely different garment. The final flair comes courtesy of custom-made gloves that the team dyed and a pair of teal SJP Collection slingbacks “that we had our tailor hand-crystal.”
This is far from Carrie’s only look in the premiere, let alone the whole season. “She had a lot of changes, and it was like being shot out of a cannon for episode 1,” says Rogers. Here, the costume-designer duo discusses what you can expect in the first few episodes. While the real onscreen wardrobe relies heavily on vintage pieces, the options below include matches and dupes of Carrie’s one-of-a-kind style.
The Casual Look
“It’s a bookend. A sweatshirt in the beginning, all the way to coming down the grand stoop. It did run the gamut,” says Rogers. The opening montage quickly catches us up with our leading cast (and who they are with) and covers the spectrum of bedroom attire (or, in Miranda’s case, an easy-to-undo summer dress in L.A.). Some, like LTW, prefer sexy underwear paired with a robe, but for a fresh-faced Carrie, an oversized slouchy New York Times sweatshirt and heels are equally alluring. Plus, she is supporting her local newspaper. “I absolutely loved how that looked on her with her legs,” says Rogers. Carrie’s casual looks mix comfort and style, whether a chic caftan or a sweatshirt celebrating one of New York’s institutions.
Jumpsuits and Hats
Showrunner Michael Patrick King was nicknamed the “Hat Killer” in the documentary that accompanied the first season after he nixed a vintage summer hat that Carrie would wear to Jackie’s (Bobby Lee) wedding to Smoke (Bethlehem Million) in the finale. Rogers found the straw hat at Clignancourt Flea Market in Paris, and Parker was enamored from the jump. “The hat from the documentary where we fought and cried over it,” laughs Rogers. Parker was “so happy to wear that,” confirms Santiago. Thankfully, much like the bird, this piece gets a second life, as does the ‘80s vintage white lace flared jumpsuit that started as a wedding dress and was upcycled by Converted Closet founder Kate McGuire. A pre-fall 2022 Thom Browne purse, Vivienne Westwood pumps from Moji Farhat Vintage Paris, and If I Survive You by Jonathan Escoffery complete the look.
What’s the key to a Carrie hat? “I think what we always try to do is something different, a little bit off the radar. We look for something that’s got a great texture to it, something that sometimes can be very romantic,” says Santiago. “They all seem to have their own little story, and they’re almost like jewelry—they’re very precious.” Rogers has some ideas for Parker to break new headwear fashion ground: “It’s hard to not put a hat on her even in bed. We need to do that. She looks so good in hats. She could put a hat on a hat on a hat. She’s incredible.”
“I think that was a classic Sex and the City moment on And Just Like That. Carrie is obviously obsessed with birds; she put one on her head,” laughs Rogers. Of course, Rogers is talking about the whimsical JW Anderson pigeon purse. Fabien Constant, who directed the AJLT documentary, put the pigeon clutch on their radar. This is far from Carrie’s first playful bag, and here she teams it with brown python Dior Extreme Gladiator Sandals (which she wore in several other colorways in the 2008 movie—including with her wedding dress), beige ribbed socks, and a zippered cargo jumpsuit (also by Converted Closet).
Carrie Bradshaw doesn’t do one-color dressing, but on this occasion, when she heads to the podcast studio, she opts for head-to-toe in what Rogers calls “a beautiful lipstick color.” Rogers says ultimately, “There are no rules,” and the all-over fuchsia proves this is no fashion faux pas. “That was a vintage silk dress that we had found in a vintage show, the fabric had such a great flow to it, and when we were looking at it, we didn’t want to clutter it up with anything else,” says Santiago. “We all gravitated to making it monochromatic and keeping the same tones. We happened to have that beautiful Donna Karan suede bag, then we had the shoe, and it all came together.” Carrie is unafraid to mix corduroy, plaid, and a patterned silk skirt, plaid on plaid, or stripes and florals. “Sometimes we get very textural, and we mix a lot of patterns. It’s nice to clean the palette sometimes and do something monochromatic like that,” says Santiago.