Sarah Jessica Parker touches down in Aventura last Saturday on a launch tour introducing her shoe line carried exclusively by Nordstrom.
She makes it clear right away that she’s on a tight schedule.
“Last night I didn’t get to spend much time with the people,” she says of the promotion tour’s whistle-stop in Chicago. After South Florida, she’s got one last appearance in Dallas. “I really want to spend as much time as possible with them, so we kind of need to go, OK?”
So after a quick greeting of her business partner George Malkemus III – who also runs Manolo Blahnik USA with his partner Tony Yurgaitis – we settle down for a quick Q&A:
Rod: What do you bring to this crowded field?
Sarah Jessica Parker: “Hmmm…probably a real true deep re-examining of the single sole. And probably the first time someone has really thinking of color as a neutral. Looking at a crowded field it’s not exactly like this is a fallow period for the shoe business. But I think it was really nice to kind of go back in time and think about that period in the late 70s - you know, the Maud Frizon, Charles Jourdan, Walter Steiger, [Susan] Bennis [Warren] Edwards - that period of shoe, that beautiful colorful single-sole period.”
Rod: There’s a grosgrain them with a ribbon on the back seam of the shoes, on the handbags and even repeated in the trench coat. What is that all about?
SJP: “You can see it on every shoe that has a seam, which is kind of nice because in that crowded market place they kind of poke their nose out. When I was growing up we had to wear ribbons every single day and we had a bureau in our bedroom that was solely dedicated to ribbons a myriad of fabrics, prints and they there were, you know, tartans and silks and double-faced satin and velvet but primarily it was grosgrain ribbons and we were responsible for ironing them every morning. And I don’t know, I love grosgrain.”
Rod: What do you think will particularly resonate with the South Florida customer?
SJP“Color. I think the fact that so much of this collection is dominated by color. You all are fortunate enough to have a lot of sunny skies which allows you to enjoy color year round. For us that’s more of a seasonal approach but I actually really wanted to have color forever, all season, every collection; fall, winter, you know, pre-fall, fall, spring.”
Rod: Why Nordstrom?
SJP: “Just dream retailer. The historic, long, wonderful history. The relationship they have with their customer. The fact that they started out in the shoe business. You know, they know so much about this industry. The standards that they keep; the expectations of the customers. You know I had some time past with them with a fragrance launch that I loved. George has a long history of them. George and I wanted that partnership and for us it has been wonderful.”
Rod: Having become such a fashion icon with the ‘Sex and the City’ franchise it’s hard to fathom that growing up in Ohio you only got two pairs of shoes a year.
SJP: “We got a new pair of shoes at the top of the school year and we go a new pair of shoes in the spring. And we always had a pair of patent leather Mary Janes. And, you know, if hand-me-downs were available that fit, we had those too. But we were also responsible for taking care of our own shoes. So every Sunday we got out the newspaper and we polished our own shoes and we buffed them and it was pretty hard core. It was super militant the way it was run in our household. It was like an assembly line. It was actually really, really fun.”
Rod: Can you explain your design philosophy ‘trust the simple’ to our readers?
SJP: “Um, I think the simple is a much harder thing to do well because it shows every flaw. But there is such enormous beauty in simplicity. It’s not wearing her, she’s wearing it.”