14 Fashion Secrets About And Just Like That... Revealed

And Just Like That...'s costume designers Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago exclusively broke down some of Carrie's most colorful and controversial looks from the HBO Max series for E! News.

By Tierney Bricker Dec 12, 2021 11:30 AMTags
Watch: "And Just Like That" Fashion Secrets REVEALED

Hello, lover.

That's not just the phrase Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) once purred to her awe-inspiring collection of shoes, but it's the exact sentiment we had while watching And Just Like That..., the highly anticipated next chapter of Sex and the City.

While some controversial choices may have been made in the first two episodes (read all about that shocking death here!) and one of the main four was notably M.I.A., there's no denying that the HBO Max series is delivering the eye candy we all so desperately need right now, in the form of the swoonworthy fashion. 

The duo responsible for upholding the series' standing as the most fashionable TV show ever are Molly Rogers, Sex and the City's co-costume designer since its inception, and Danny Santiago, who worked on both films.

Both of the costume designers have worked closely with the legendary Patricia Fields on the series and The Devil Wears Prada and received her blessing to get carried away with the revival after prior work commitments, including working on the second season of Emily in Paris, prevented Fields from returning.

Sex and the City Fashion Evolution: Carrie Bradshaw

"We've been friends since 1984 and I've just been at Pat's side for so long and she was like, 'You are the only one that can do this. You have a language with the girls, they're comfortable with you, you know the landscape, you had to have learned something from me all these years'" Rogers told E! News in a recent phone interview. "She was just like, 'Just go do it, have fun, and don't forget the biggest rule I've ever told you about: There are no rules.'"

With that reminder, Rogers and Santiago went about injecting a new sense of playfulness to the characters viewers have known and loved since 1998. And they weren't about to let any social media discussions about leaked photos from the set derail them. (Oh, we'll get to that Forever 21 dress debate soon enough, don't worry.)

"Danny and I did not feel pressure because I was going to have fun on this no matter if the doors of hell broke open because I wanted to have fun," Rogers explained. "You're not going to spoil it by listening to some person's judgment of an outfit that comes out of a camper. You haven't read the script therefore your criticism of me means nothing to me. It doesn't define me. I was in the fittings and I was having fun and Sarah Jessica was having fun and we're doing things that made us happy and putting things together that we were excited about. I'm not going to let somebody rain on that parade."

But that doesn't mean the show itself, which put a bit of a damper on the affair by killing off a beloved character in the first episode, didn't try to douse Rogers and Santiago's efforts to inject a lot of color into Carrie and the rest of gang's closets. 

Here, the pair break down how they handled dressing Carrie before and after that devastating death, bringing back iconic pieces from the past, and defining each of the new supporting characters' distinctive looks. Plus, watch the video above to find out about the one Carrie outfit the pair is bummed didn't make it onscreen. 

It's Time to Celebrate

After the COVID-19 pandemic forced many of us to say goodbye to the majority of our wardrobes in favor of loungewear, And Just Like That... costume designers Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago were just ready to have fun when they returned to the world of Sex and the City for the HBO Max limited series.

"Okay, if you are working on a television show that means you survived COVID and you survived the terrible divisive mood of this country and you wanted to be in an environment that celebrated life and celebrated friendship because you hadn't seen your friends unless they were in your pod," Rogers explained to E!. "We were so excited, and we were like, ‘We are going to explode this show in color because everybody's been wearing Zoom-and-doom clothing.'"

That meant a lot of colors, fabrics, textures and over-the-top accessories, especially for Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie Bradshaw, arguably TV's most definitive fashion icon.

"One thing we really love and one thing we always talk about when we are seeing the clothes is we want the whimsy in the show, especially Carrie," Santiago said, adding he hopes the 10-episode series reminds "people to have fun" with their clothes again.

"It's about being celebratory with your wardrobe," he continued. "We want people to experiment. There's no wrong, it's just what you feel great in. How do you want to walk outside the door every day and feel good about yourself and feel good about what's going on your life? Coming out of this whole situation we've all been in, we just really wanted to celebrate."

The More Things Change...

While it's been 11 years since fans last saw Carrie, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) in action, their fashion senses haven't changed all that much. 

"They have their distinct styles already," Santiago explained. "They're in their lanes as far as from of the show."

But, to bring the characters into 2021, Santiago and Rogers had fun in "finding new designers, finding new people, new accessories, and things like that to incorporate into their wardrobes."

Social media presented a whole new world for the team to tap into to find new designers and inspiration, which helped alleviate one of Rogers' initial concerns about the series.

"What we thought would be daunting would be the stores that we loved that had closed, smaller stores and large stores like Century 21 that you literally lived in that store when you did episodic television in New York," Rogers said. 

The biggest change to the three main leads' wardrobe? 

"One thing we did want to do, because of the time and coming out of COVID, we wanted to really make things happy and bright and have fun that way," Santiago said. "I think, if anything, you will see some more color surprises."

The Black Event

However, Rogers and Santiago's plans for a bright 10-episode long affair "fell apart" when they read the script for episode two, which featured—Spoiler alert!—a funeral for Mr. Big (Chris Noth). To keep the storyline shrouded in mystery, they referred to it as the "black event," Rogers revealed, adding, "There went the exploding color."

Navigating how to simultaneously have Carrie in mourning while also delivering the fashion moments fan want to see was made a touch easier by the meta line of dialogue from Stanford (the late Willie Garson) in the episode, where he says, "I'm so proud of her. With all she's going through, pulling it together and giving us a look today, because people will be expecting it. She's kind of our Jackie Kennedy."

"I think that line really lightened the moment," Rogers said. "There was an under the breath big chuckle with the whole audience at the premiere. It helped alleviate the tension."

For the funeral, Carrie wore a vintage little black dress with a teacup silhouette, V-neckline and a full lace skirt. In Bradshaw fashion, she paired it with a pearl clutch, black headpiece and white caged leather pumps.  "The big thing in the script was that she dressed for Big," Rogers said. "She wasn't in shock, she was thinking about how she wanted to present herself at this event, so we got to style it."

But Carrie's shock is in full display during her visit to the funeral home with Charlotte. Though both ladies are wearing the same color, they couldn't look more different.

"Charlotte was the pulled together pretty in pink and Carrie was the emotional wreck in the oversized pink coat," Rogers shared. "We didn't alter it. She just looks a little curled in and her clothes were kind of sad because they didn't fit."

And a key element to express Carrie's grief came from Parker herself.

"She has the same jewelry on as the jewelry from the recital," Rogers revealed. "Those little details were extremely important to Sarah Jessica, 'What would I have done? I would not have changed earrings, I would not have taken them out.' Those little details, she expected us to track."

Paying Homage to the Past

While some fandoms freak out over returning guest stars, Sex and the City fans are more excited to see iconic accessories make an appearance, like Carrie's infamous "Roger" belt from the first movie or the purple sequined Fendi purse. And the costume designers credited SJP for holding onto almost all of the clothes she wore throughout the series' run, as well as the two movies. 

"We were so lucky that Sarah Jessica has an archive of almost everything," Santiago said. "She kept all of these beautiful pieces that people have so much love for. These pieces were so important they played such important roles in the show and the movies. The fans love these things. They are like characters in the movie and the fact that she has them, we thought, what a great way to bring them back out again? That people are going to be able to see and appreciate it and love it and pick out."

Feeling Blue

Of course, one of the most infamous accessories Carrie rewore in And Just Like That...'s first episode were her wedding shoes, Manolo Blahnik silk Hangisi royal blue stilettos. Alas, they took on a much more bittersweet meaning after Carrie kicked them off in the shower as she cradled a dying Big. 

"It was something that really played through with the storyline," Santiago explained of the decision to have Carrie wear those shoes in that moment. "We felt like it brings it full circle as far as the longevity of that shoe and to sort of kiss it goodbye in this way."

That wasn't the only archival piece Parker wore in that scene. There's also the blue flower pin Carrie wears on her jacket to the recital, though, Santiago revealed, "because of what plays out, we had to dye the petals in the silk. But the one she's wearing in the scene is the actual archive flower that she has."

Hallmark-Level Hope

Still, despite the devastating loss of her husband, Carrie is going to carry on.

"We thought a lot about hope in a way," Rogers said. "I don't want that to sound too Hallmark card-y, because we had gotten through this horrible, horrible mood in the country, we had survived that and we were all hoping for a happier day, we got through the pandemic, most of us, and you have to celebrate life."

Enter stage left: Carrie walking to her local bodega to grab a coffee in a massive tulle skirt, a fitting homage to her signature tutu skirt from the series' opening credits. 

"You never know what's around the corner and if wearing a tutu to the deli is how you celebrate, I don't mind seeing it!," Rogers said. Amen to that. 

Carrie's Surprising Staple

Considering Carrie's love for all things experimental and playful, it may come as quite the shock that her go-to piece is an oversized blazer. But that trend is a continuation from Sex and the City 2, in which she throws a "rum raisin" jacket over a gown to see Aidan (John Corbett), explained Rogers.

"It was a favorite of Sarah Jessica's from the movie," she added. "We treated it like a jean jacket."

Santiago added, "That's the best way to put it. The same way a lot of people would just throw a jean jacket over an outfit, it kind of goes with everything. We used that blazer idea for the same type of thing."

To Lily's piano recital, Carrie wears a vintage cream Norma Kamali blazer, which Santiago favored because "there's something nice about that silky weight to a tailored jacket because it still has movement to it. It's structured, but there's still ease when you wear it. It's soft and it's a great layer to thrown on. That's something you'll see repeated in different colors throughout."

Carrie Loves New York

Eagle-eyed viewers will notice Carrie often wearing a necklace with a New York state pendant on it, as well as various other accessories—including a touristy tote bag—that pay homage to the city and its "strength," particularly after the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's just a great nod to New York City and for everything that it's gone through," Santiago explained. "The city still holds on, it's still there and everybody came together. New York is such a big player into the show, it is another character, the same way the clothing can be another character, and Sarah Jessica loves the city and everything about it."

Ain't No Party Like a SATC Fitting Party

Yes, wardrobe fittings for the show are just as glamorous as you expect them to be, with Rogers admitting, "There's bubbles in the refrigerator, but we stay sober for the fittings!"

Given a budget from their producers, Rogers and Santiago were able to make their own fitting room, complete with custom wallpaper and a beautiful three-way mirror adorned with Hollywood lights that they can dim. "It was an environment where you wanted to do your best because it had such a great vibe," Rogers gushed. 

The fitting process was the same as it was on the original series and  the movies: The three women go through racks and play "kiss or kill," Rogers revealed. "Kiss: It says in the room. Kill: It goes outside on the reject rack. And then you start to try on the things you were immediately attracted to and you try to put them in some order of the scenes. That's pretty much how those operate because there's a lot of clothes to go through."

Parker's editing process is often very fast as she "has a very refined, quick eye," Rogers said. "She'll linger on something and be like, 'Hmmm, I wonder where I could wear this because it's odd or it's really different or I've never seen that.' She wants to know where we found it. I think her curiosity and her knowledge, she will try on anything because she wants to see if it will work."

Fittingly, Parker doesn't have "a lot of kills, unless it's the fabric she doesn't like or something like that," Rogers said. "Or if the shoe doesn't fit, that's the quickest way to get kicked out of the room!"

Mad For Unexpected Plaid

Rogers pointed to a Madras plaid jumpsuit Carrie will wear in an upcoming episode as a piece that caught Parker's eye during a round of kiss or kill that seemed destined for the latter. 

"She initially saw it months ago, maybe in May," Rogers revealed. "She was like, 'I don't think I am ever going to wear that. It's pushing it, it's very heightened.' But it stuck around in the room because it was cool. I think she saw it out of the corner of the eye and was like, 'I don't know where.' But then there it was!"

The Forever 21 Dress Controversy

In July, SATC fans were shocked when Parker was photographed filming a scene in which Carrie appeared to be wearing—gasp!—a maxi dress from Forever 21. Tweets were fired off, aghast Instagram comments were made. But all of the commotion was over nothing as Santiago confirmed the frock was not from the discount retailer.

Explaining he found it at a thrift store about five years ago, Santiago said, "I think I paid $5 for it. There was no label on it. I bought it and I thought it was a cute piece that was a really pretty little jumper [with a] boho style to it." And when they were looking for a summer outfit to put together, the dress was pulled and then immediately photographed by the paparazzi. Pandemonium ensued. 

"This whole thing went crazy viral with people saying, 'Oh, that dress is from Forever 21! and then other people started...saying, 'No! That this dress is from an Indian designer,'" Santiago recalled. "We had no idea who it was from or where it came from or what time period. But from what we can figure out because it was bought so many years ago it must have been the original dress because Forever 21 more recently had knocked off that dress and made it."

Case closed. 

A Silver Fox

While some fans were surprised to see Miranda return without her signature red hair, Santiago and Rogers used the change as a way to subtly experiment with the character's fashion. 

"Miranda's got gray hair now, so for us, that gray is a neutral, so it made it more open to wearing new types of colors possibly and textures. It as beautiful to compliment with different types of colors."

Take, for example, the loose suit jacket and skirt she wears for her first day of school, with Santiago explaining, "It was sort of a softer tailoring we did for her now. It still has a little structure to it, but it's got a little bit more of an ease and a relaxedness to it with her silhouettes now and the clothing she's wearing."

The pair also looked to highlight one of Nixon's best features.

"She's got such a great long neck and shoulders," Santiago said. "We love doing stuff where we played with the necklines and stuff like that on her."

NYC's Newcomers

Several new supporting characters are introduced in the first two episodes, including Che Diaz (Sara Ramirez), Lisa Todd Wexley (Ari Nicole Parker) and Dr. Nya Wallace (Karen Pittman), all of whom had their own distinct senses of style. 

"Danny did this big mood board of inspirations for the new characters," Rogers explained. "We presented that to Michael Patrick King so we could have dialogue about their clothing and how we were going to style them."

But then they had to wait for the roles to be cast so they "could see if our ideas were going to fit the person and the person was going to be into or relate to what we were pitching."

Imagining it would be "intimidating for an actor to walk into a room with all these professionals in it who had chosen the belt that you are going to wear," Rogers said, "I think these new actors came in trusting us and we all wanted to fit in seamlessly to this new show and the script with the new folks. In the end, we are all New Yorkers and no one is in the corner. New York is this big melting pot of non-binary, smart professors, we just tried to fold them in.

Breaking Down Their Vibes

Lisa (a.k.a. LTW) is the queen bee Charlotte is desperate to befriend at her daughters' school. Thankfully, she just so happens to be awesome (she's a documentarian and humanitarian who loves a good French fry) and have a colorful and accessory-filled closet that landed her a spot on the International Vogue best-dressed list. NBD!

"[Nicole Ari Parker] is gorgeous and we were very lucky that she was cast because she's pretty much a clothing hanger," Rogers said. "Maybe she was a model, I don't know? She is a beautiful woman." (Ed's Note: She was, in fact, a model!)

LTW's bright style was inspired by women Santiago has seen on Instagram "and those are some of those woman where you're like, you're right, they belong on the International Best Dressed List and I need to step my p---y up!" Rogers said with a laugh.

For Miranda's effortless law professor Dr. Nya Wallace, Santiago said they didn't want to limit her fashion because of her profession. "Why can't she be cool? Why can't she have this incredible style to her?" he explained. "We didn't want her to be boring. We wanted her to embrace who she is as a person and incorporate this amazing style to her. [Michael Patrick King] had told us she was going to have braids, so that inspired us to take it in that direction."

And when it came to Che, Carrie's dynamic podcast co-host who is also a standup comedian, it was all about conveying "a sexiness," said Rogers.

"We had to think about the three people that fit inside the small podcast room," she explained. "Carrie is going to have something eclectic on, the character Jackie is this standup comedian with the John Belushi vibe, so there's a lot going on. And Che as the host, we wanted a pillar, a foundation, so it was just like a strong black silhouette. It's comfortable, it's easy. It's not man-ish, it's not feminine, it's a foundation to put some strong jewelry on Che."

And Just Like That is streaming on HBO Max.

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