The Convention-Destroying Power of Tulle and Other Lessons from ‘SATC’ – WWD

“In the end, the tutu won.” It’s Pat Field recounting the little conflict between her (and partner in the tulle, Sarah Jessica Parker) and “Sex and the City” creator and moderator Darren Star, over the series’ iconic opening HBO movies.

“It is difficult for producers to understand tutu,” Field told Entertainment Weekly in 2017. “Sarah Jessica and I fought for it.”

Starr, then the 1990s television wunderkind (“Beverly Hills, 90210” and “Melrose Place”) insisted on shooting a second, more conventional opening scene, in which Parker wears a periwinkle green dress. As the bus with her picture rumbled past, instead of being smoked by the water from New York City’s gutters, she went. Starr gave a comedic vibe, an homage to one-girl sitcoms in their heyday including “That Girl” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

Field and Parker were operating on another level.

The tulle dress debate is a metaphor for the show – more than 20 years after it debuted, and as is now predicted the redux “And Just Like That” will premiere Thursday on HBO Max – remains unparalleled in its influence on fashion and feminism. The series opening debate was good enough; Starr is not dug in at all. But Field and Parker, like her character, sex columnist Carrie Bradshaw, have a unique, idiosyncratic fashion radar — understanding tulle’s potential to break conventions.

As Starr later told EW: “It was one of the many times they had a closet and I looked at it and said, ‘I don’t get it, but go get it! “

By the time its second season premiered in the fall of 1999, “Sex and the City” was as influential as Vogue. In the pre-Instagram, late-90s-early-Aughts, it was a vibrant, breathing 3D fashion magazine. But it also changes the perception of fashion as a patriarchal tool of objectivity and oppression. That’s right, Parker, with his sinewy limbs and a dancer’s carriage, looks amazing in so many bodycon dresses. But Carrie Bradshaw very deliberately does not dress to attract male attention. Her style is edgy, whimsical, sometimes confusing. If the characters on “Melrose Place” shop at the high-end department stores, Carrie frequents Manhattan’s lower-end vintage stores.

Post #MeToo, and in today’s age of unprecedented economic and social inequality, it’s easy to dismiss “Sex and the City” as a relic of an era of exclusion, that woke up first. And sure, there are aspects of the show that don’t age; it clearly lacks diversity, harsh stereotypes about race and gays, depressed consumerism, all of that is smoking. (In the early seasons, before her career really took off, Carrie lamented the “expired credit card.”)

“And Just Like That” has the opportunity to correct some of the flaws of the original show. The writing room features a number of women of color and characters that more accurately reflect the diversity of New York City. And doing a show about middle-aged ladies is a bit risky.

Parker, 56, was apparently annoyed by comments on the internet about her graying hair. “I know what I look like. I have no choice,” she said told Vogue Magazine. “What am I going to do with it? Stop aging? Disappear?”

However, the final installment of the series and two other films, “Sex and the City” is the first series to explore the messy inner lives of women and candidly address the dynamics of gender power. In season two, when Charlotte tells her friends that she signed up for a tantric sex class called “How to Please a Man,” Miranda quips bitterly: “I know how to please a man. You just give away most of your power.”

Aggressive, complex, selfish characters. They use men for sex and lie to them, even those they claim to love. When Carrie can’t stand the ugly engagement ring Aidan (John Corbett) gave her, she wears it around her neck, hidden behind a veil of fake pearls. She told him it was closer to her heart that way. But they are also extremely loyal to each other.

Author Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, who has written several articles on feminism, commented: “There are a lot of feminist messages in clothing. book on popular culture, including “Sex and the City and Us”.

“Think about crazy things [Carrie] already worn. I remember when she wore a belt on her bare back. She is wearing it for herself, but also for other women. And this was very new at the time. The ladies at ‘Melrose Place’ are definitely dressing up men and so are the other women [on TV]. ”

Molly Rogers – who worked with Field on “Sex and the City” and was a costume designer, along with Danny Santiago on “And Just Like That” – said Molly Rogers – used fashion to inform women’s empowerment and self-determination at that time the concept was not circulating.

“Whatever you’re wearing will make you feel good,” says Rogers.

Rogers and Santiago spent pre-production scouring Florida consignment stores, where Rogers joked, “New Yorkers are going to die. And they can’t bring their own wardrobe.”

There’s obviously a lot of vintage fur and evening wear in secondhand stores in Palm Beach. Paparazzi shots from the production of “And Just Like That,” which began last summer in New York, reveal that many of the show’s signature pieces will return, including the “Roger” belt. Carrie’s and purple Fendi baguette. And Rogers teased that Carrie’s fur coat would return, too, but in an unusual way.

“I always say, a rule is no rule,” says Rogers. “And that says a lot about the freedom that women have. If you feel confident in what you’re wearing, that’s empowerment. I think it’s important that the clothes don’t wear you. You wear clothes. I don’t think Carrie would be able to run around New York City in a halter top with a belt around her waist if she didn’t feel comfortable in it.” The Convention-Destroying Power of Tulle and Other Lessons from ‘SATC’ – WWD


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