SATC NEVER GOES OUT OF STYLE
FORGET BIG, Berger or Aidan, the real leading man of Sex And The City was Manolo. As in Blahnik (who else?), the shoe maestro whose heels protagonist Carrie Bradshaw had an on-going love affair with, that lasted six series and two films ( yep, even that sequel).
The wardrobe was the fifth lead role in Sex And The City. Costume designer Patricia Field excelled at serving up looks that were equal parts sublime and ridiculous. In the Manhattan of Carrie et al, couture gowns co-exist with costume jewellery, tube tops are paired with fur
coats, sunglasses donned to work out in, and heels worn with everything. Was it realistic? Absolutely not (and no, no freelance writer could ever afford to dress like that). Was it influential? In the words of Big: abso-fucking-lutely.
Sex And The City’s fantasy wardrobe was bizarrely prescient in its unapologetic, instinctive confidence. Carrie was the original Instagram dresser, repping made-for-social-media looks long before influencers were a glint in the wi-fi.
You want to wear a belt around your bare midriff for no other reason than just because? You want to decorate your shoulder with foliage? You want to wear a flat cap with a knitted romper and printed slingbacks? Go for it! This unfettered joyfulness, the ‘for the hell of it’ approach to getting dressed is the reason why, two decades on, the wardrobe hasn’t dated in the same way as, say, the clothes in Friends have.
And just as Sex And The City shouted loud and clear that women have agency over their bodies and sex lives, it also gave them permission to dress for themselves. The irony is that for a show that purported to be about sex, the clothes themselves weren’t the obvious definition of ‘sexy’. The string vests, armour belts and strings of pearls exist beyond the male gaze. And this isn’t just about Carrie’s outré outfits;
Miranda’s serious, normcore suits, Charlotte’s ready-to-settle-down WASP wardrobe and Samantha’s take-me-asI-am power dressing, also fall into the man-repelling category. These were women dressing for other women. And 20 years later, we still can’t get enough SATC style. As Carrie might say, I couldn’t help but wonder [ inhale Marlboro Light], when it comes to style, do great outfits just get better with age? The Carrie crew effect is all over the catwalk this season. Happy coincidence or the result of box-set bingeing (who knows?), but we couldn’t help but wonder, wouldn’t Miranda look superb in SS18’S languid Céline suiting? That Brock Collection’s pretty-asa-picture dresses were made for Charlotte, and Versace’s head-to-toe leopard print for Samantha? As for Carrie? Dolce & Gabbana’s cycling shorts and crochet knits, or Dior’s knicker-flashing ballgowns are made for the woman who dresses like nobody’s judging. And whatever they would wear today, one thing’s for sure, there would still be plenty of Manolos.