Sarah Jessica Parker, in the role of Carrie Bradshaw for the ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘And Just Like That’ series turned heads for her character’s fashion choices. Off screen, Parker is often referred to as a style icon, known for her love of shoes. So much so, that it has inspired her to launch her namesake label in 2014.
Launching at Lane Crawford stores – exclusively in Hong Kong and Mainland China – and online, SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker is an expression of the actress’ style and fascination of shoes, with personal touches woven throughout the collection. The edit includes the ‘Fawn’ timeless pumps in a beautiful array of colours, as well as pieces from the ‘Duchessa Gardini’ line, featured on the ‘AJLT’ series.
We chat with the style maven cum entrepreneur, as she recalls fond childhood memories in Cincinnati, lessons learned along the way, and her must-buy item.
Your love for shoes began as a young girl, can you share your story with us?
In my home growing up, we shopped for shoes twice a year. We got a pair of shoes at the top of the school year for fall/winter and then, if we were lucky and my parents could afford it, we got a second pair for spring/summer.
We would drive into town to a traditional American shoe store that carried brands like Buster Brown and Stride Rite. The store was air conditioned, which was a big deal to us growing up with such hot Midwest summers.
I will always recall the smell. The shoes at that time were made with really fine leather, even the more affordable ones. I would always wander, admiring the stitching and craftsmanship. I was always in awe of the work and loved that experience.
Do you remember buying your first pair of designer shoes?
Some of the first designer shoes were ones I bought from George (Malkemus III, former CEO of Manolo Blahnik) at a trunk sale back in the mid-eighties in Los Angeles. I think I bought six pairs of shoes from him and paid them off with a credit card over a very long period of time. Sadly, they were later stolen while I was traveling. It still devastates me.
And he became your partner of choice to bring the brand to fruition. What important lessons did you learn from this experience?
I learned so much from George about the footwear business. At the start, he was truly the only partner I could imagine myself building this business with. I feel proud of all we were able to accomplish during our years together.
Who inspires you?
I draw inspiration from so many places. From people I know and love, to people I pass on the street or subway whose names I’ll never know. From my travels and all of the adventures I’ve been fortunate enough to take around the world. From books and literature to theatre and film. I’m always keeping my eyes open in search of new sources of inspiration.
Can you tell us about the grosgrain detail at the back of every shoe?
Yes! A grosgrain detail can be found on every single shoe in our collection. Growing up, I had to wear a ribbon in my hair every day. We had a bureau dedicated to them and we had to iron them ourselves each morning. Early on, when working on design with George, I said, "do you think we could put grosgrain up the seam?" The backs of the shoes looked almost naked to me. It’s turned into a nice way of identifying ourselves in the designer footwear category.
What has been the most rewarding part of creating your own brand?
There are so many rewarding parts of creating and owning my own brand, but I think the greatest joy is meeting our loyal and devoted customers and knowing that so many come to us for shoes to celebrate important days or big milestones in their lives. From weddings to graduations to birthdays, there is something so satisfying of knowing we play a small part of such important days.
What is the one piece from the edit that everyone should own?
I always say that I don’t pick favourites and, while that’s true, I feel like the answer to this question has to be Fawn, our classic pump. She’s been with us since day one and we’ve created her in so many different colours, fabrications and even heel heights. She’s an SJP staple and the shoe that so many of our customers start their collection with. She can be worn with anything and everything, from gowns to jeans to sweatpants. A versatile beauty!
Receive a beach towel upon any purchase from the SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker collection.
Photo courtesy of Sarah Jessica Parker
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