In Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw (played by Sarah Jessica Parker) tells her Vogue editor, “I may not know men, but shoes—shoes I know.”
The quintessential single girl became best known for her outrageous, yet highly-covetable wardrobe—particularly her fascination with exquisite designer shoes by the likes of Christian Louboutin, and, of course, Manolo Blahnik.
Ever since her tenure as Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker has herself become recognized as a style icon—an almost real-life version of the character she played on television. Parker swears, however, that Bradshaw had a more “reckless” relationship with shoes than she does. Surprisingly, her fascination with shoes and eye for style actually pre-date her Sex and the City years.
“When I was a little girl, we went to the shoe store two times a year,” Parker told The Daily Beast. “I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, and there was a shoe store in Kenwood that was primarily Buster Brown shoes. And even though there were lots of options, we were pretty much told what we could and couldn’t have; what we could and couldn’t afford. But when I was in that shoe store, as my siblings—I’m one of eight—would try on shoes and be fitted, I would keep walking around, picking up every shoe,” she said while picking up a pair of her leather pumps, “smelling it, looking at the stitching, looking at the heel. And in those days, even if you didn’t have money, shoes were really well made. And they smelled great. I honestly think that’s when I started loving shoes."
Years later, while Parker was living in L.A., she had her first Bradshaw-esque encounter with high-end shoes—Manolo Blahnik’s, of course.
“In 1985, George [Malkemus, CEO of Manolo Blahnik] and Manolo [Blahnik] came to L.A. [for a] trunk show. There were like six of us there, it was pouring rain. I had like $400 and a credit card, and I bought six pairs of Manolo Blahnik shoes. And at that time, that was pretty much my annual income, and then some. [Laughs] But I paid them off over a number of months.”
The small trunk show in rainy L.A. turned into a longtime friendship between Parker and the Blahnik company that eventually led to her current collaboration with Malkemus. Launching Friday at Nordstrom, the shoe collection—priced in the $300 range—blends Parker’s innate eye for style with Malkemus’s long career in the fashion industry.
The collection has a very simple aesthetic—single-soled heels, strappy sandals, and flats in mostly solid colors; there’s a camel-colored, lace-up leather booty, an ankle-strap, pointed-toe nude patent pump, and a closed-toe, summery espadrille. The heels are all fairly low, and the shoes, for the most part, are wearable. Aside from a few strappy sandals that look like tacky wedding shoes, the collection was classy and is clearly Manolo-inspired (which is not a bad thing considering the shoes cost about half the price of a pair of Blahniks). Plus, they’re hand-crafted in Italy.
“I’ve liked and admired well-made shoes for a number of years,” Parker explains, “but I didn’t have the access. I didn’t have the financial means to support that kind of dream. And it was really only doing Sex and the City where I got to wear more shoes in a week than more women wear in a lifetime.”
Now, Parker is bringing that lifetime of shoes to an audience that admires both her sartorial style, as well as that of her characters.
“'I've spent $40,000 on shoes and I have no place to live?” Bradshaw once said after realizing she had no assets while attempting to get a loan from the bank. “I will literally be the old woman who lived in her shoes!”
But hey, if you’re living in Carrie Bradshaw’s shoes, that may just be enough.