Sex coming to Perth
Patricia Field. Picture: Supplied

Local Sex and the City fans will be able to get up close to some of the outfits that made Carrie Bradshaw a fashion icon.

The show’s prolific costume designer Patricia Field is heading to Perth along with an exhibition of some of the smash-hit TV series’ famous outfits, which will be on display at enex100 in the Perth CBD later this year.

New York-based Field came to Australia with a similar exhibit last year, which debuted in Melbourne to huge acclaim.

Field might have created a style icon in Carrie Bradshaw by bringing her chic designer wardrobe to life in the still incredibly popular TV and film franchise, but regardless of the impact she has had on pop culture, the 73-year-old told AAA last year she is still humbled by her strong following.

Almost a decade since the popular US TV show saw its final episode in 2004, it seems the widespread appreciation for her work lives on, with the fashion aficionado last year named in Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential Fashion Icons of All Time.

Field is winding down from a busy day at her eponymous New York boutique when we speak and, as she reflects on her years spent styling SATC’s four leading ladies — Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) — she admits that she’s still stumped by the number of women who continue to be inspired by her work.

“It gave me great pleasure to receive that response from women all over the world regarding my work — that was the best reward of it all,” Field says in her deep, raspy New York accent.

“I did not anticipate anything like that but when that sort of materialised, it was a great throw for me to be able to reach out to women everywhere and that’s really without exaggeration, everywhere.

“Women come over to New York, and it could be Japan, it could be anywhere, and they approach me and they’re happy. And that is such a reward; I can’t even describe the value of that.”

Diehard SATC fans may also be surprised to learn that Carrie’s signature tulle, ballerina-style skirt which featured in the show’s opening sequence — and also appeared briefly in the first film — was not handpicked from a rack of high-end designer pieces.

Sex and the City creator Michael Patrick King with the series' stylist, fashion designer Patricia Field. Picture: Craig Blankenhorn
Ironically, Field said it was fished out of a bargain bin.

“I came across it in (a showroom) in New York and there was a basket on the floor and it was like $5 or something and I just pulled it out, ” Field explains.

“Because we were designing what this opening look would be, and knowing Sarah Jessica and her affinity to ballet, we also wanted to find something very original, not trendy of that season.

“Because if (the show) was going to be successful, well, you know, five years later you’re going to see that same thing and you certainly don’t want it to have a time attached to it.

“In the end, (Parker) went straight to that. So I thought ‘We’ll put it with a little T-shirt and make it like street wear’.”

But of all the memories Field has taken with her from the iconic series, there is one in particular that has always stuck with her.

“Something that was very memorable for me, and probably for the audiences also, was that Versace gown that Sarah Jessica wore when she was in Paris waiting for the Russian to come and she was on the bed in that humungous gown, ” Field said.

“It was the end of the last season and I had already started another project, and it was like 10pm on a Friday night when I left the new project and I knew that scene was being shot, because all the interiors of Paris we did in New York.

“So I drove there . . . and sure enough when I got there, they were rehearsing it.

“She was sitting on the bed and the gown was all bunched under her and I was like ‘No, no, no, no — this is the way the gown needs to be shot, like a doily over the entire bed.’

“It’s a good thing that I went there . . . if I wasn’t there I don’t know what would have happened. So that’s sort of the highlight that I remember.”

Before Field and Parker — who met while filming Miami Rhapsody in 1995 — decided on the Vivienne Westwood gown that Carrie would wear in the first SATC movie during her first nuptials to Mr Big (Chris Noth), it was a close call between Westwood’s voluminous, fairytale-style gown and a sleek, fitted Zac Posen frock.

Sarah Jessica Parker tries on a Versace gown for the final season of Sex and the City. Picture: Patricia Field
“We called in at least a dozen over-the- top gowns that could work, ” Field explained.

“In the end we had three gowns we all thought were good ones and the Vivienne Westwood won the day. I thought it was the perfect gown for her because, knowing her taste and her personality, that gown was really the perfect one.”

But the pair loved Posen’s gown so much that it wound up featuring in the film.

“That gown was also made in black and I said it would be perfect for Charlotte. She wore that gown in the film (as the bridesmaid’s dress), ” Field added.

Having just celebrated her 73rd birthday last month, Field has shown no signs of slowing down.
Though working in film and TV is still on the cards, the flamboyant designer says she wants to venture into a completely different realm to fashion and that she is even considering her own reality TV show.

“I’ve been approached many times over the past 10 years or so to do something like that, ” she said.

The West Australian

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