Fashion & Beauty

A conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker

A conversation with Sarah Jessica Parker
Hundreds of Sarah Jessica Parker fans came down to Downtown Seattle Nordstrom for a chance to meet the Sex in the City star. (Joshua Lewis / Seattle Refined)
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Since the 'Sex and the City' actress was here in Seattle yesterday, we got the chance to chat with her about her new shoe line, Seattle, and of course - coffee. To answer your unasked questions: Yes, we were freaking out, and yes, we almost called her Carrie about 5 times. 

We’re excited that you are launching a new line at Nordstrom, a Seattle based company. Have you been to Seattle before?
Yes! I’ve been to Seattle a decent amount, but definitely not enough. It’s a city that I love - I actually shot a television series there in the 80s called ‘A Year in the Life’. I got to live there for many months, and it was a wonderful experience. It was the first time I had ever been to Seattle, and I fell in love with the city. Later, I had a dear friend who was working in Seattle so I visited her a couple times and then launched Lovely with Nordstrom in 2005 so I was back out there again. I have a lot of wonderful memories of Seattle.

When you visited previously, was the weather decent, we hope!? 
I have always had good weather when I have been in Seattle! I’m from New York so I don’t mind weather, I don’t mind rain. We had such beautiful weather when we were shooting and each time I’ve been there, I’ve had lovely weather. But I’ll take Seattle no matter what!

Your role in Sex and the City launched you into the fashion world, where you quickly became an icon. Had you personally always been interested in fashion or was it something that you learned by playing Carrie?
I have always loved beautiful, well-made clothes, but I didn’t always have access to them and rarely could afford them.  But my mother always loved dressing well. She was pretty industrious about managing to do so, and she cared a great deal about how we looked when we left the house, even with limited means. I think what happened over the course of all those years playing Carrie is that I simply learned more about it. I was able to dream bigger and meet wonderful emerging designers, and develop my own relationship with fashion. That's definitely one of many benefits I had from playing that role.

This can’t be the first time you’ve been approached about a clothing/shoe/handbag line. What makes now the right time?
I don’t know that it is the right time or the wrong time. For me, it was about finding the right partner. I’ve had the opportunities come up in the past but simply never found the perfect fit for me in terms of what I imagined in my head. One day I had the idea of partnering with Nordstrom and now, here we are.

As you know, Nordstrom is a Seattle company. What makes them such a great partner for the new collection?
I have some nostalgic connections to Nordstrom. I launched Lovely there, and they were so hospitable and so wonderful to work with. Nordstrom has a great history as shoe merchants - that’s how they started. They have a superior sales staff, and they are famous for how informed the staff is, how much they know about the category that they are spending time selling. And of course they have wonderful relationships with their customers. They know this category so well and have such a wonderful reputation in retail. I love the fact that it is still a family-run business; that means a lot to me. Nordstrom really was our dream retailer for this line, and we were thrilled when they showed enthusiasm for it.

The SJP Collection will have great shoes. What else are you offering now?
We have shoes, we have a small bag collection and a trench coat in two colors. It’s sort of the exterior shell that we are looking at right now. We’ll see over time if the business grows, but for the time being we are going to focus really on shoes and the bag collection for pre-fall and fall. We are already working on spring. It just gets better and better, it’s really wonderful.

It’s probably against the rules to choose a favorite, but which shoes do you like the best?
It’s hard for me to pick a favorite, but I seem to circle back to the Carrie in purple, the Ina in jade suede, the Anna in asparagus, the Etta in both charcoal and dusty rose; I love the Fawn in black with that grey grosgrain stripe down the back. I love the Pola in grosgrain and the Lady in that geranium grosgrain, I think it’s beautiful. The Alison boot is great, too.

Because this is Seattle, we have to ask: What do you order when you go to a coffee shop?
I’m pretty much a straight shooter. I tend to not get a lot of the complicated flavors or whips. I’m a hard core, really strong cup of black coffee with a little bit of milk and a little bit of sugar. I mean hard core – the darker African roast, the better.

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