Earlier today, Sarah Jessica Parker and ELLE creative director Joe Zee hosted a brunch for beauty bloggers at Sweetie Pie in New York City’s Greenwich Village. The purpose: To celebrate Parker’s latest fragrance, SJP NYC—available exclusively at Macy’s—and its arresting ad campaign (styled by Zee, who also worked with Parker on her Lovely and Covet campaigns). Here, a peek at what the Sex and the City icon and Zee had to say about the scent, the photo shoot, and more. —Emily Hebert
Parker’s SJP NYC Dress
SJP: When Joe and I met about the campaign and what we wanted to achieve visually, we thought there’d be no one better than Oscar de la Renta. We went to him to design the dress for SJP NYC because he’s the best at what he does—he also designed the dress for Lovely. It just felt right and it was a real privilege.
JZ: Sarah’s so smart about everything that goes on in fashion that by the time we sat down she already had some ideas in mind. She wanted to do a mix of patterns and new Bohemia. Mr. de la Renta made a one-of-a-kind design—it was the first dress she put on and she just knew right away that this was the one she wanted to represent the brand. She wanted something that represented Sarah, Carrie, and New York City, all in a dress. So you can only imagine how much pressure that one dress had—but it turned out to be phenomenal.
Inspiration Behind SJP NYC
SJP: What I really wanted to do was capture a snapshot in my head of Carrie Bradshaw—a freeze-frame of her walking down a New York street in an idyllic time of year in a floral dress, on her way to meet somebody or do something, surrounded by her women friends. I associate Sex and the City with the beginning of summer since it always aired that first weekend in June, and I thought the fragrance should smell like that feeling of freedom; like the bell ringing when school lets out.
How SJP NYC Differs From Parker’s Other Scents
SJP: Lovely was this incredibly polite fragrance—it was very well-mannered and knew how to be in a room and not linger uninvited. And Covet was very bold, very aggressive and far more restless. SJP NYC is like a party in a bottle—it’s whimsical, fun, and has a youthful quality. I don’t really connect it to the others because there is this surprising strawberry note that makes it unique. The notes in SJP NYC aren’t ones that I generally tap into. It’s really surprising to me, but I love it.
Parker’s Real-Life Style
JZ: Sarah’s so directional and so forward—she loves fashion, she’s not afraid of it, and knows what’s going on. But she’s also not a slave to trends. She has such a strong, innate sense of personal style. You can look at something and immediately know it’s Sarah.
SJP (on her perfect purse): In real life, if I’m getting my son to school I try to stuff as much as I can in my parka pocket. That’s the truth. But I like bags a lot. It’s exciting to go to a fitting for Sex and the City where there are nothing but tables and shelves of bags. It’s unbelievable. I don’t have a favorite, but I love carrying all of them. When I’m with my kids I tend to use a bag that has a deeper well so that I can have a book in it or snacks or pacifiers or a pen—I want to be able to fit things like a newspaper and book in my bag.
SJP: I put a lot of moisturizer on my face and any kind of lip balm. And mascara—I’m on an endless search for the right one. It’s like the Holy Grail. And every time I find one I like, they discontinue it. I also try to squeeze in some time at Angel Feet, a tiny spot on Perry Street—it’s this reflexology place. Someone rubs your feet for an hour. You just have to find the hour…
SJP: I try to take care of my hair and not do anything to it when I’m not working. I try not to color it if I don’t have to. And I like to wear wigs a lot for movies because it protects your hair and you can have a head-full of conditioner in your hair all day long underneath.
SJP: I confess—I’m very bad at makeup. I don’t really wear any in my personal life; there’s no time, and I’m not good at it. I can cover a zit, put mascara on, and apply eyeliner inside my eyeball, but that’s basically it. I work with makeup artist Leslie Lopez as much as she’ll be around me. She’s a master at the mouth. And I always say, she should teach a master class about the mouth because it’s very hard to do well and I don’t really know what lipstick looks good on me or how to apply it. She can also do any eye under the sun. I’ve learned a lot from working with her, but I wouldn’t want to do makeup on myself. I wouldn’t know where to begin!