THE LINE SNAKED AROUND the escalator as a crowd of women awaited the arrival of their heroine, Sarah Jessica Parker, aka Carrie Bradshaw. The “Sex and the City” star was coming to Nordstrom in Tysons Corner to introduce the second season of her line of shoes. Even though many of them had probably seen the HBO hit show (1998-2004) only in reruns, they stood patiently.
It’s not surprising that the stiletto-wearing actress’s collection (exclusive to Nordstrom) is stacked with high heels (which range in price from $350 to $375 for pumps, to $455 for booties and $695 for boots). What’s clear is that she has a personal connection to the designs.
“A pump is a living, breathing thing,” she says. As if to reinforce the point, the shoes, which are made in Italy, have names. There’s the Marlene in blue or gold patent; the Rachel, a riff on a slingback, named after Sarah Jessica’s sister; and, of course, the Carrie, a T-strap pump in red, purple, beige or black. The high-heel-challenged (myself included) might go for the Gelsey skimmer flat in red, black or beige.
Sarah Jessica’s love affair with shoes began well before her “Sex and the City” stint. She recalls living in New York in the 1980s when Charles Jourdan heels were shorthand for sleek and chic. “Those shoes really made an impression on me. He was the first person to do color; the single-sole silhouette was so sexy.” Forward to the late 1990s and Carrie and her Manolo Blahniks–whose design owes a debt to Jourdan, as well as Maud Frizon and Walter Steiger–were inseparable. Sarah Jessica raves, “The Manolo BB [named for Brigitte Bardot] is one of the great shoes of all time.”
Showing a knack for business and an eye for reinvention, last year Sarah Jessica partnered with Manolo Blahnik CEO George Malkemus to produce the SJP line with its signature grosgrain ribbon on the back seam of each shoe, a nod to a childhood wearing ribbons in her hair. Are the shoes comfortable, we inquire–well, as comfortable as wearing three-and-a-half-inch heels can be? Parker proudly points to the shoe’s plush padding under the ball of the foot.
From the looks of customers clutching shopping bags filled with shoe boxes at Nordstrom (the collection will be sold at Tysons Corner and Pentagon City), Sarah Jessica, known for being down-to-earth, is enjoying the high of a new hit series.