"I don't let myself get bored with clothes," Patricia Field told me on Wednesday. The queen of Carrie Bradshaw's closet was holding court in a midtown Manhattan restaurant discussing the ensembles in "Sex and the City 2." "As long as I discover new visions, whether it's movies or TV or just creating, I don't get bored. I get bored if it gets too repetitive."
Somehow, after six seasons of the series on HBO and one movie under her studded stylist's belt, Field found herself inspired upon reading the "Sex and the City 2" script. She had no problem clothing the aging foursome, explaining, "You are as young as your heart is. You see young people who have a heavy heart, they don't look young and pretty and vibrant. You see some women who are old and they're so together, they're still feeling it and pumping it. They're not running around in pinafores. They're not teenagers."
Check out some of the ensembles from the movie, with Field's commentary, and scroll down to keep reading.
"Carrie arrives in Abu Dhabi in this outfit. It was very important to me that, 'when in Rome, do as the Romans do.' You have to respect your host. So if you're visiting a country where it's very important to them that you cover up--whether you agree or don't agree--you cover your head. This one was a bit of a compromise because the exposed shoulder is a little scandalous over there. This is a Halston one-shoulder dress and I forget who made the turban. And I picked up that half-moon necklace in turkey."
"This is when they're getting a tour of their palatial hotel. There is a good story about this--see this red dress on Charlotte? I had originally picked a Palestinian scarf, red and white, and I thought, 'This is the perfect thing to wear when you arrive in the Arab world, paying homage in the fashion way,' and it went with her dress. And she told me Charlotte is married to a Jew, she would never wear a Palestinian scarf. So I said, 'Alright, don't wear it. Wear a stupid white scarf.'"
"Carrie goes with Miranda to the souk, the market. Again, I wanted to cover her shoulders. This is a long skirt, but it's really not a skirt, this is the crinoline from under some couture gown they sent us. I saw this slip underneath, thought it's a gorgeous color, let's use it as a skirt."
"This is built on an experience of mine that took place about ten years ago, based on my imagination and my fantasy, and the experience was I was in Cairo and I went on a camel riding around the pyramids. And so when this scene came up ten years later in the script of 'Sex and the City,' I was, like, okay it's the camel ride all over again. When I did the camel ride, I wore the hat Samantha wears but in a burgundy. A friend of mine, Horst, made it. I had an outfit on for the camel ride. I didn't go in just a t-shirt and jeans. I was, like, I'm in the desert, going to Lebanon and it's the year 1000 and I'm on a camel. I made up this scenario, so when I went on my camel ride I was feeling the theatrics of it. And then it revisited me ten years later in 'Sex and the City.'"
"This scene is the karaoke club and I wanted to make them like The Supremes. Colorful, shiny, disco-y. Charlotte is wearing vintage YSL, Samantha is wearing The Blonds, Carrie is wearing Chanel and The Blonds, and Miranda, Halston Vintage."
"Oh, the '80s. It turned out funny and I was glad. The first time I knew Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha was in 1996 or 1997. So I kind of tried to go back in history ten years and imagine, based on the way they looked in the late '90s, how they would look in the late '80s. There was also the comedic element to it because you're putting 40-year-old women in outfits teenagers wear, so I couldn't take it too seriously. I had to make fun of it a little. So I chose Madonna-esque for Carrie and and Charlotte is Lily Pulitzer."
"Samantha worked at CBGBs, so she was kind of like rock-and-roll and punky."
"[Miranda] was just out of law school on her way to I don't know where in her little lawyer silly suit, you know, very Miranda, right....with her silly hair do. Her hair was the best of all of the hair because she never, in the series, had good hair. She only got good hair in the movies. Because...[Cynthia] she doesn't tell people what she wants. She's like 'you're the professional, you know, I'm an actress, I'm a mother, I'm whatever' and I'd [be] like, 'Come on, let's dance. You wanna dance or you want me to dance by myself in front of you?' And as a result, everybody was putting their two cents into her look. Everybody. Sarah Jessica....the hair people, and she always looked ridiculous. And it was very hard to dress her because she didn't step to the plate herself. It was hard for her...hard to get her to come together as a character. And after the series was over, five years passed, and in that five years she had a lot of big changes in her life. And it affected a lot in her life. I think she became happier, and I don't know. It was a positive change in her life. She slimmed down. She started...being interested in her grooming. And you know, she felt better about herself somehow and it started to come out. And then I saw, and I'm like thank god I know where to go because she gave me a little hint."
"This is a story point, a very specific story point...Carrie's in her old apartment, she's got her closet and her clothes are still in it. She went in her closet to put something on to go to dinner with Mr. Big and she pulled out her old Dior newspaper dress. It was just a memory moment for my fans. I chose this dress because she looked fabulous in it from the beginning and still does. It was a very famous dress that she wore in the series. Back then it was very up-to-the-minute but it has endured for years."
Although it appears that Field could have any garment in her hands in a New York minute, she maintains that she is not designer-oriented: "I identify with the script and the story and the character. If the costume fits in the scene on the character, that's what it is. It's not John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Calvin Klein. But in the movie there was a lot of Halston."
Whether or not the stream of Halston duds had anything to do with Sarah Jessica Parker's new role at the design house, Field said she turned to the brand to convey a specific message. "I did it because I was making a statement and that statement was, I am sick of all these goddamn stupid shapes and looking like a lampshade, a balloon, a bubble, a spacekid," she explained. "I want to be chic and simple because I'm up to here with that other shit. So give me Halston."
But with all good wardrobes comes a hefty price tag, in this case, one that's been calculated by some mode mathematicians to be $10 million for the entire cast's clothes. Field called that number "a load of jimmerish."
"Every week it goes up a few million," Field remarked. "I don't know what it all cost. We had a big budget...in fact, there was probably no budget. I was never told, 'No, you can't spend any more money.' But I'm not a crazy spender, I watch my Ps and Qs, meaning if I can get something for free, I'll go the extra mile and get it for free. I'm very responsible on that level. The overall cost wasn't $10 million. I think I said that but I made that up. I don't think we spent a million dollars. Above $500,000, yes. Maybe $800,000. But that's a guess."
Field is truly level-headed when it comes to designer labels. She said, "Balmain--granted they do it nice--but they're doing a motorcycle jacket. And these people with all of this money would never buy a motorcycle jacket or a pair of boots at a punk rock store on St. Marks Place for $150...but they're happy to buy it designed by Balmain for $20,000. It's insane. They don't have a mind of their own. I have no patience for that."
So what would the stars wear in "Sex and the City 7?"
"Hospital gowns," Field laughed. "I don't know what they would be wearing in 'Sex and the City 7.' What is 'Sex and the City 7' about? Is it a musical?"
One thing's for sure, Field won't be celebrating its opening with any Cosmos of the future. She said she's a straight vodka drinker and even recently lent her creative eye to a redesign of SKYY Vodka's bottle.