I’m not one to get starstruck, but when I walked into the NoMo Hotel on Monday afternoon to meet Sarah Jessica Parker — the ultimate style icon who inspired girls all over the world to take risks with fashion (and in many cases, to move to New York) in her career-defining role as Carrie Bradshaw on "Sex and the City" — I could barely open my mouth to speak.
The 50-year-old actress, who was recently named the face of Jordache, might be one of the tiniest humans with whom I’ve ever come into contact (she looked damn good in her high-waisted Jordache denim paired with a black Wolford bodysuit and hot pink heels), but she certainly has the biggest presence, with a beaming smile and charm to match. As someone who's been in the spotlight for almost her entire life, it's difficult to imagine that her politeness and excitement for each new project she takes on are genuine; but as I watch her hop across the room in stilettos to carry over a chair for me (so that we can sit closer together as we chat), it's clear that Parker still truly loves to work, and will continue to do so for a long, long time.
This Jordache modeling gig comes at a busy time for Parker, who will return to HBO with a new show, "Divorce," later this year, and is designing her own eponymous line of footwear; but when she was approached by the American heritage denim brand, it was too exciting an opportunity to pass up.
To celebrate the launch of her vintage-inspired campaign, I talked to the star about her earliest denim memories, how her style has evolved over the course of her career and if she would still consider modeling 30 years down the line — à la Joan Didion for Céline.
Do you have a favorite vintage denim image or campaign from your youth?
I don't so much have a campaign, but I remember some of the denim images from Robert Redford in the '70s, Jane Birkin in jeans, Lauren Hutton, Farrah Fawcett, James Taylor.
I hesitate to call it a "renaissance," but the vintage denim look is coming back. "Mom Jeans" are in again. How do you feel about that?
I think one of the many things that people love about denim is that it’s a very personal experience. You really look to put your own shape and DNA and finger prints all over it when you buy jeans. What you're trying to do is make them yours. When I see a jean on someone else and I think, 'Oh God, I want to get that,' what I soon figure out is that's great for her because she has this build and this shape, but it's not right for me.
Do you have a first denim memory? A pair of jeans or denim shorts that you just loved?
I didn't get jeans for so long. I wasn't allowed to wear jeans. Eventually I inherited a pair from my sister, I don’t know what brand they were, but I was so admiring of them. She’s two years older exactly. As she would outgrow them, my mom would add embroidery tape on the bottom — that was a very common thing to do with jeans in terms of height. You would just add a wide, sort of tapestry. It’s actually kind of cool — we should encourage some big denim person to do that!
Do you see yourself modeling 30 years down the line, like Joan Didion for Céline, for instance, or do you see yourself doing more behind-the-scenes stuff in fashion like your shoe line?
I don’t know necessarily that I think of my work as "in front of" or "behind." I’m an actor, and starting a new show in the fall for HBO — I’ll be in front of the camera, but I’m also producing it, so I’ll be behind. Also the shoe collection. A lot of that work is outside of the cameras and has nothing to do with me being documented. But when an opportunity like [the Jordache campaign] comes up with a brand that I’ve known about since I was a little girl, that I’ve coveted and have all sorts of memories attached to their campaigns, it’s really flattering.
I think I like having interesting experiences and working with interesting, talented people.
You’ve been such a style icon, whether it was on "Sex and the City" or your Met Ball dresses that are just so memorable. Have you seen a change in your personal style over the years, or has it stayed pretty constant?
I think it’s certain my style has changed. I think, first of all, your point of view changes. And probably, if you look back at choices you made five years ago, you wouldn’t necessarily regret anything — you might go, 'I don’t know if I would wear that dress today,' but you were probably really happy wearing it at the time. I have daughters. Is that part of my decision making? Probably not that consciously, but I would probably not go pick [them] up in something that I used to wear, just because it’s not right for me.
I tend to wear things and buy things that are for life now. I’m less inclined to be hypnotized by a trend or a 'moment,' but I think that’s a really important part in young women's lives: to experience and dabble and sort of flirt with all those things because it sorts out who you are. That’s just not necessarily what I’m looking for now. That’s probably the biggest change — just how I look at purchases.
The Jordache women’s collection launches at Walmart this week, and the Jordache Look collection is already available to shop on the brand's website.