Sarah Jessica Parker Talks Partnerships, Liberation and Personal Style
So, you may have heard by now that our favorite Manolo-wearing actress, Sarah Jessica Parker, has created a line of Manolo-esque shoes, as well as a few handbags and a trench in her new SJP Collection at Nordstroms.
1) This is amazing. How many of you have been waiting for this day since that “Carrie Bradshaw knows good sex” bus ad first drove by your TV screen?
And 2) Because of what I do, I got to sit down with the style icon to talk about her new venture and how she’s using color to help women express themselves confidently (are you dying? I was dying). Read that piece here.
And below is the full Q&A, because you just don’t leave anything this woman says on the cutting room floor.
SJP: You look so nice. You [are wearing] rum raisin, that’s one of my most favorite colors in the world.
[PAUSE: Let’s all just take a moment, because…. Ermahgerd.]
Me: Wow, thank you! Why now? I’m sure you’ve had many opportunities to create a collection like this before. What about this opportunity really appealed to you?
SJP: Why now is because I finally, at long last, had the courage to pick up the phone and call George Malkemus [CEO of Manolo Blahnik] and say to him, “Would you ever consider… I know this is a crazy long shot, but what do you think about the idea of partnering on a shoe line with me?” And he said, “Be at my office tomorrow morning." [Editor’s note: Of course he did. Who wouldn’t??] It must have been spring because I know what I was wearing when I called [him] and I wasn’t wearing a coat. So just about a year later, here we are. And I think, like all things in life, hopefully you learn from your past and it informs probably pretty clearly how you make future decisions. And partnership, as you know—romantically, professionally, among your friendships—is pretty important. Those opportunities were wonderful with great people, successful people in the shoe business, but I came to understand that they probably didn’t want to make the shoe that I wanted to make. And I couldn’t make a shoe that I wasn’t proud of and offer it up to people and ask for their hard-earned dollars.
Like all things in life, hopefully you learn from your past and it informs probably pretty clearly how you make future decisions. And partnership—as you know, romantically, professionally, among your friendships—is pretty important.
What was the shoe you wanted to make?
I wanted to revisit the single sole and focus on colors as neutrals and make them in Italy and make a beautiful, long-lasting, well-made shoe that you could reach for in your closet in three and five years and not only would it still be relevant but it would feel good and look good and be in great shape and could take you hundreds of miles further into your life.
Let’s talk color. For a woman who’s not accustomed to wearing color, what would you tell her? How could she wear these shoes?
I think it’s been really interesting. This is our fourth city. Wait… Seattle, LA, Chicago, so yeah, this is our—we’ve kind of lost our minds. This is our fourth city and it has been very interesting to watch women sort of be obedient and reach for the black. If you just get a moment with them and just ask them, not interrogate them, but just, “Out of curiosity, tell me why you’re reaching for the black? Do you have any other black shoes in your closet?” [And they say,] “I have nothing but black!” So it’s so interesting to me. Now look [points to fierce heel on her foot], I am shocked to say I freakin’ love the black Carrie because I think it’s sexy. It’s strong. But it’s still really feminine. I think women are so obedient and even if they don’t realize it, these rules have seeped into their lives in a very meaningful way and they are still under the impression that if they go to work in a geranium red grosgrain pump that that somehow makes them appear less capable, less reliable. [Like] it literally diminishes their brain in some way. I think it’s just a matter of saying it’s a teeny adjustment. It’s what you really want to do isn’t it? They want to. It’s just a little adjustment and when you say to them, you know mint can go with this and this and this and this, and geranium can go with this and this and this, and grape can go with this and this and this. And they’re like, “Oh my God I didn’t know” or “I didn’t realize” or “I was scared” or “I didn’t know I was allowed to” or I didn’t know colors could clash” or “I didn’t know you could wear three different kinds of purple.” You can wear whatever makes you feel good. I mean, that’s when you look your best.
You can wear whatever makes you feel good. That’s when you look your best.
Did you know you would be liberating women in this way?
[Smiles] I don’t know if I have. I mean, no, but I certainly hoped we were going to give them options.
If a young woman is trying to define her personal style, what advice would you give her?
I’m so bad at giving advice. Rather than advice I would say I would encourage someone to be themselves. To summon the courage to walk out the door in the way… What is the story they want to tell? And worry less about what her friends in college look like or the other mother or the woman in the office or what they think their boss thinks they should look like. Really, I think so many women want to tell their own story. And when you look around the room and you really get a chance to see it, that’s what is so exciting about living in a democracy and seeing people voice who they are with what they put on. And you know, it’s been so exciting to be at these [personal appearances] and meet women of all shapes and sizes and colors and backgrounds and women who have to cover their head and cover their arms, and women who love sharing their body and women who can’t wear heels, and women who don’t feel great about themselves. It’s just been incredible and they are the most inspiring people to me of all.
ARE YOU NOT IN LOVE?!