With a new series of mega-hit sex and the city sequel And Just Like That… already in preparation, Joanne Hegarty meets the stylist behind the spectacular clothes
Left to right: Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) in And just like that…
Costume designer Molly Rogers speaks to me while wearing a backwards sweater. The stylist who dressed Carrie, Miranda and Charlotte in the hit sex and the city spin off And just like that… managed to find time to put on lipstick. But she says her own wardrobe is like the cobbler’s children who don’t have shoes. ‘That’s me when it comes to clothes. All my energy goes into dressing other people. I should try harder, I know!
This year’s most talked about TV wardrobe is set to make a comeback after the series cracked HBO’s top ten across its film and series debut and returned to service last month.
Plus, Molly promises there will be more standout style moments to come next season. In the meantime, she gives an exclusive look at what it was like to dress Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis and the rest of the show’s cast, and opens up about the real-life drama behind the scenes.
One thing the wardrobe department never had to deal with on the original series of sex and the city was the social media glare, which Molly said presented quite a challenge.
As soon as the cameras started rolling And just like that…, hordes of fans began following the cast around New York, posting photos and videos for the world to watch on dedicated Instagram accounts. “We felt like we were hyper-judged from day one of production,” says
Molly. ‘It was crazy. As soon as the actors emerged from their RVs, they were filmed – and the speech was about what they were wearing. On sex and the city, no one had seen the clothes, sets or scripts. This time we didn’t have that luxury unless it was filmed indoors.
Lovers and Haters
Some in the fashion community loved the suits, others didn’t. “At first I tried not to read the reviews,” Molly explains, “because I knew it wouldn’t be healthy. But I had a friend who emailed me every negative comment. It was a running joke between us. He said he did it to keep me down!”
Molly managed to keep her cool thanks to thick skin developed while working as a collaborator with Patricia Field on the original sex and the city, and also because she quickly realized that many of the comments were incorrect. “The only report that came to me – because it was one of the first and I felt like it tainted us and gave us no fighting chance – was a headline about fast fashion .”
Fans were appalled that Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker’s character) wore a dress from Los Angeles-based fast fashion retailer Forever 21, and the costume department was accused of not caring enough about the environment . “It was unfair,” Molly said. “There was no tag on this dress so we didn’t know what it was, but everyone was angry to know where it came from. It happened right away, and I realized people were looking for blood.
But there were also some positive headlines, like when Vogue did a feature on what they hailed as Sarah Jessica Parker’s new ‘Carrie dress’ (below), a £185 powder blue creation by Norma Kamali.
Sarah in the new ‘Carrie dress’
The hardest goodbye
Just after filming began, news broke that Willie Garson, who played Carrie’s best friend Stanford, had passed away. His funny persona was an integral part of the show – and his death from pancreatic cancer at 57 was a major blow. “Willie called me before we started,” Molly said. “He told me he was sick, but said his treatment was going well. He had a surgical port on his arm that he wanted me to know about so his sleeves weren’t too short. When he died we had just started episode three [of ten] and everyone felt overwhelmed, but it was especially hard on Sarah.
The big problem
Chris Noth, who played Carrie’s husband Mr Big, faced a storm of controversy during the spin-off’s broadcast, as allegations of sexual assault of multiple women emerged. The actor denied them, but, as a result, Noth quickly disappeared from the public eye. The show’s creative team also made the decision to erase its final scenes, where Big’s ghost was to appear to Carrie when she scattered his ashes in Paris. Molly is candid on the subject. “There are a lot of issues today with erasing people’s lives – that doesn’t sit well with me,” she says. “I don’t think things should be resolved in the court of public opinion. It’s scary; it’s like a witch hunt to me. Have your day in court.
The thrift store shoes
Molly worked closely with Sarah and the two other lead actresses – Cynthia Nixon (Miranda) and Kristin Davis (Charlotte) – when it came to choosing outfits. “All the girls collaborated and we built a beautiful dressing room – it was just awesome to be in there.”
Molly, her costume designer partner Danny Santiago and Sarah shared a passion for sourcing vintage gemstones – and one odd shoe item struck a chord with the true SJP shoe addict, as Sarah is known. Molly says, “There was a pair Danny bought from a thrift store that cost next to nothing. They were old and dirty but SJP and Danny fell in love with them. The white and black saddle shoe – laced in the front and open in the back – has sparked much debate. Molly hated them but SJP was determined to bring them to the screen.
“I didn’t want them on anyone’s feet, let alone appearing on the show, but SJP had a name for them – Phyllis. She would say things like, “This outfit would be perfect with Phyllis! Phyllis ended up on screen when Carrie was in physical therapy.
The show’s stylist Molly Rogers
Unsurprisingly, Sarah, Cynthia and Kristin all combed through their clothes racks. “We used to call it the kiss and die process,” Molly explains. “We didn’t do any editing before they arrived, we let them do it with us because these ladies are very fashion-savvy.”
After each outfit was signed off and the correct edits came back, the wardrobe department took a picture of the outfit as part of a fun on-set ritual. “We had a hotel bell that we rang after each outfit was approved,” says Molly.
Sarah’s love of vintage was evident throughout the show, and the tray hat she wore to Mr Big’s funeral was the result of one of many vintage sourcing trips Molly and Danny have taken. in Florida. “We did a lot of shopping in Palm Beach because a lot of New Yorkers live there now, so the stores are full of party dresses and all kinds of things that they don’t carry in Florida. Their story and everything about them is so interesting… You can’t find that on a shelf in a modern store.
The costume department made a running joke with male actors about being just props: “It’s fun to treat men like props, because women are often treated like that in movies. other shows.” To me, their fittings are just as important, but we’d tease them by saying, “Nobody’s watching what you’re wearing.” You’re just arm candy.
According to Molly, Willie Garson’s fittings got the most attention. “His wardrobe would be filled with everything because he was such a flamboyant character.”
The next chapter
Molly is thrilled that the characters are coming back for a second series: “I love that they can age and still tell their stories. At the end of the first series, Carrie kisses someone new in an elevator – life goes on and life changes. The show is about growing. And it was definitely the most fun I’ve ever had at work.
- And just like that… the first season is available on Sky Comedy and Now