When someone has been a style icon for multiple decades, there are bound to be a few misses among the hits. It might be easy for us to judge the best and worst looks, but it’s even easier for those lucky (or unlucky) enough to wear them.
Sarah Jessica Parker is no exception. The multi-talented actress and entrepreneur recently spoke with Vogue about some of her favorite looks on- and off-camera. Naturally, she has a few words to say about some not-so-great looks, too.
We’re happy to say we agree with Parker on many of her favorite looks. As far as where we differed in opinion? Well, those are more than a little surprising.
‘And Just Like That’ Premiere Tutu Gown
Parker had no complaints about a small handful of looks, and this tutu gown by Oscar de la Renta made the list. She wore the dress to the NYC premiere of And Just Like That at the MOMA. Even those vaguely familiar with her Sex and the City are likely to recognize the subtle ode to Carrie Bradshaw’s pink tank and tutu ensemble in the show’s opening credits.
As soon as Parker flipped to this dress, her face lit with excitement. “This was like yesterday,” she gushed. “This dress has such an interesting story because this pink wasn’t there originally. We had this other tulle.”
“And as we had these couple of fittings, this evolved. All the embroidery, the sequins—they were all done out of the country. It was a big deal, and he did it so fast. I think it’s a perfect dress. I absolutely loved it,” Parker said.
2000 Emmy Awards Pink Feather Dress
Two decades earlier, Sex and the City was on its fast ascent to success. The then-34-year-old Parker attended the 2000 Emmy Awards in a pink feather gown. This cocktail dress was another Oscar de la Renta piece with whom Parker collaborated many times over her career.
Another bubblegum pink nod to SATC’s title sequence, this gown was another of Parker’s favorites. And while “she wouldn’t wear feathers today,” it’s the gown’s designer that she remembers the most fondly.
“[De la Renta] was always so invested and always cared and took care of details. But also, [he] just always smelled good, looked good, knew how to be in a salon—very old fashioned ideas about a client and customer.”
Parker’s nostalgia for her friend and collaborator’s creation overruled any hate her feathered skirt and arm piece might have garnered. “I love this,” Parker said. “I think I’ve seen criticism of it. Enjoy. Have fun.”
2019 NYC Ballet Fall Fashion Gala
Finally, one of the last of Parker’s all-time favorite looks is another vividly pink number. The custom Posen gown she wore to the 2019 NYC Ballet Fall Fashion Gala is a blinding flurry of neon fuschia taffeta. This billowing look certainly wasn’t one of our favorites, but maybe beauty is in the eye of the wearer.
“This fabric—you can’t do right by it in a picture,” Parker recalled. “It was like it had a switch inside it. I just loved everything about it. I loved that night, and it was for the New York City Ballet, so it was a big deal.”
We’ll take her word for it—maybe this one really did look better in person.
1997 VH1 ‘Vogue’ Fashion Awards
Ah, the naked dress. Parker first wore this barely-there dress as Carrie Bradshaw in Season One of Sex and the City. Then, she recycled the DKNY look for the 1997 VH1 Vogue Fashion Awards. The dress immediately went down in iconic fashion history, but Parker is less than impressed today.
“I would never wear this dress,” Parker said. “I know that’s me, and I cannot pretend it’s anybody else. It’s a perfectly constructed dress. The idea of it is amazing. It is Carrie in that moment, but I don’t think it’s entirely Carrie. I think there’s another dress that’s as body-conscious as this one but feels more so Carrie. This dress is like its own universe.”
Sarah Jessica Circa The Mid-1980s
Lastly, Parker traveled far back into her wardrobe vault with this look from the mid-1980s. “Every single thing on me is from a vintage store, with the exception of whatever’s in my hair—and apologies for that. I don’t recognize this person.”
“I don’t understand the sunglasses, in particular. I think they’re awful on me,” Parker continued. “Large earrings are a mystery to me. I don’t know if I saw that in a movie from 1947. The period at the end of the sentence is the peace necklace. She showed up in a lot. I didn’t take her off.”
That’s true, too—Parker wore that tiny peace necklace multiple times, including at this 1987 AIDS benefit in NYC.
But hey, Parker’s highest highs involved couture gowns and priceless designer pieces. If a peace charm necklace is the worst of it, I’d say that’s still a pretty impressive track record.