While costume designers Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago had worked on the original Sex and the City series and movies, under Patricia Field, nothing could’ve prepared them for the social media frenzy that ensued when the first photos from the reboot series, And Just Like That…, were released back in July. “It was pretty powerful to see how quickly [photos from the show] spread across the universe,” says Rogers. “As soon as a foot came out [of] a camper onto the sidewalk and a paparazzi snapped it, less than five minutes later, it was posted online.”
Not only were photographers watching the cast’s every move, on and off the set, but just days after the first photo was revealed, an account called @justlikethatcloset, dedicated to identifying the fashion on the series, emerged on Instagram. The euphoria surrounding the show culminated in what Rogers calls “Forever 21-gate,” when a photo of Sarah Jessica Parker, who reprised her role as Carrie Bradshaw, wearing a maxi dress that fans incorrectly ID'ed as Forever 21 blew up the internet. "[The Internet] brought the world closer," says Rogers. "But the world's magnifying glass got closer, too." In an unprecedented move for costume designers, Rogers and Santiago decided to create their own Instagram account, @andjustlikethatcostumes, which documented the behind-the-scenes process of dressing the show’s characters. “We wanted an account but we wanted it controlled by us,” says Rogers.
For the series — out on HBO Max now — Rogers and Santiago cemented a new style for the lead characters — Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis joined Parker — now in their 50s while unearthing memorable pieces from the show’s original run. “Even though time has passed, they’re still the people that they were,” says Santiago.
Rogers and Santiago remained true to Bradshaw’s love of eclecticism, styling her in a draped, blue Norma Kamali dress with Aquazzura shoes for one scene and a menswear-inspired 1997 Jean Paul Gaultier suit the next. They also made sure to include the character's signature looks, including the Fendi “baguette” bag, which got stolen in Season 3 of the original show; the Manolo Blahnik blue "Hangisi" pumps that Mr. Big used to propose to her in the first Sex and the City movie; a pair of Miu Miu platform pumps from Season 6's Wall Street opening scene; and a blue flower pin from her Bill Kelley days. But it was one particular accessory — a feather, bird-like fascinator — that generated the most buzz. “I knew that was going to wig everybody out,” says Rogers. Some even speculated that it was a nod to her almost-wedding outfit in the first SATC movie, and therefore a sign that Bradshaw and Mr. Big were divorcing.
Back in the day, when Rogers assisted Field on SATC, she says the two used to roam New York City’s club scene to find designers and inspiration for the costumes. “You would see some fierce outfit on a kid in a nightclub and you would be like, ‘Who are you?’ she says. “Those days are long gone.” This time around, Rogers and Santiago turned to Instagram to find new, emerging designers to feature. A memorable one for Rogers is Rodney Patterson — a milliner in Bushwick, Brooklyn — who she used to commission a straw hat that Carrie wears at one point in the series. “You could literally send Rodney someone's head size and you can have a hat back the day later in whatever colour you want it,” she says.
Both Rogers and Santiago want to transport the audience back to the days when they were waiting for a new episode every week, savouring every costume. “We really had such an amazing time with everything we did and really love the looks that we put together,” says Santiago. “Hopefully, people will understand it rather than try to take it all apart.”
As for “Forever 21-gate,” Rogers says that fans need to wait to see the show to understand why Carrie is wearing this outfit: “Then, we can hash it out.”