‘SJP Operates A Kiss Or Kill System On Set’: And Just Like That’s Costume Designers On The Show’s Secrets

The most fashionable show of all-time is back with a new chapter.

Cynthia Nixon and Sarah Jessica Parker filming AJLT

by Natalie Hammond |

If you haven’t already watched And Just Like That... then cancel your plans and make a pitcher of Cosmopolitans. If you have (no spoilers alert), you’ll know that the clothes are just as delicious - and as worthy of a Carrie Bradshaw, ‘Hello, lover’ - as the days of SATC. As soon as filming started, fan accounts emerged that dissected every look and commentary erupted on social media, a phenomenon that the show’s costume designers, Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago, tried to ignore as much as possible.

Sarah Jessica Parker on the set of AJLT
SJP carrying a Fendi Baguette ©Getty

‘We didn’t let the magnitude or the reputation of the show get to us. I think that would have hindered our creativity,’ says Molly, who collaborated with Patricia Field, SATC’s legendary costume designer, on the original series, in addition to having worked on a string of films including The Devil Wears Prada. ‘It’s such a unicorn because it’s so beloved. I can’t really think of another show where people get so excited to see the ‘Roger Belt’. When does that happen?’

Sarah Jessica Parker on the set of AJLT
SJP wearing the 'Roger belt' from Streets Ahead ©Getty

She’s referring to a black studded belt that was recycled from the first film; one of several fan favourites that were sourced from the archive of Sarah Jessica Parker. ‘There are so many special moments with clothing that people have just loved and held onto all these years,’ says Danny, a prolific stylist and fashion editor who joined the costume department for the first movie. ‘It’s almost like some of the accessories or outfits are friends,’ says Molly.

Karen Pittman and Cynthia Nixon on the set of AJLT
Karen Pittman and Cynthia Nixon ©Getty

With Sarah Jessica back in the fitting room, it was business as usual. ‘Like the original series, we always let her go through the rack and see every single thing that comes into the room.’ Like Carrie’s game of ‘toss, take or storage’ that she infamously played on the first SATC film while packing up her apartment, Sarah Jessica operates a ‘kiss or kill’ system on set. ‘Kiss stays in the room and gets styled; kill goes out into the hallway and is returned,’ says Molly.

And there was a lot to sort through, with clothes and accessories flooding in from designer showrooms, vintage dealers and local talent like hat designer Rodney Patterson, as well as an epic shopping trip in Florida, where the pair hit all of the vintage and consignment stores between Palm Beach and Miami. ‘I drove a U-Haul truck here,’ laughs Danny, ‘With 12 rolling racks of clothes and another 30 boxes beneath. It was packed.’

Cynthia Nixon and Sarah Jessica Parker on the set of AJLT
Cynthia Nixon and SJP wearing vintage coats ©Getty

SATC was a trailblazer at the time for using vintage clothing outside the context of a period production. The joy now, of course, is that unlike Carrie’s Manolos, which have been replicated by many a well-heeled bride, the pieces keep people guessing. ‘A lot of her looks, you can’t pinpoint where everything’s from, you just know that it looks great on her and it’s an amazing piece of clothing,’ says Danny.

One treasure is a pink kaftan coat with striped panels of pistachio, sourced from Lofty Vintage, that she wears with suede stiletto boots from Gianvito Rossi. Another, a sworn favourite of both costume designers, a pantaloon jumpsuit and matching jacket by Norma Kamali, which came from the vintage haul in Miami. Sarah Jessica wasn’t initially convinced. ‘I don’t think she saw a place for it,’ says Molly. ‘She was like, ‘That’s really out there!’’ And then as the weather got hotter and she read the script, she reached for it again. It’s like wearing a little rainbow, a candy Skittle.’

Nicole Ari Parker on the set of AJLT
Nicole Ari Parker ©Getty

The heels are fabulously stratospheric - and the perfect antidote to all the slippers we’ve been wearing. ‘We were just looking for eye candy, weren’t we Danny? We wanted to see pretty shoes on pretty feet,’ Molly says. And unsurprisingly, Sarah Jessica is just as big a fan of shoes as her alter-ego. ‘She’s fascinated with shoes. She knows how they’re made. She knows what she likes on her foot. I would say she’s a shoe pro,’ she adds.

Kristin Davis on the set of AJLT
Kristin Davis ©Getty

What about the new characters, played by actors such as Nicole Ari Parker, Sarita Choudhury, Karen Pittman and Sara Ramirez? ‘When we got the script and were talking to MPK [showrunner Michael Patrick King], that’s something that really excited us, to have these new people to play with,’ says Danny. ‘I don’t think they’ve ever had such a fashion influence on their characters before.’ Molly agrees. ‘I imagine it can be quite intimidating to come into this room, with the legacy of this show, you know, and have your belt chosen by the people in this room.’ Both laugh at the reference to Miranda Priestly, The Devil Wears Prada’s famously icy editrix who practically garrotes Andy, her fashion-clueless assistant, for smirking as they debate the colour of two remarkably similar belts.

Sarah Jessica Parker on the set of AJLT
SJP wearing Norma Kamali ©Getty

One gets the sense that the amount of behind-the-scenes coverage has been both challenging and a totally different ballgame from SATC. ‘Back then, there was no internet. There were no cameras on phones. We were so under-the-radar, even on the last two movies,’ says Molly. ‘Being under the microscope like that was very unusual,’ she says of AJLT. ‘When the girls would come out of their campers, it was instantaneous exposure - and it was being judged immediately.’

With so much legend attached to the characters and clothes, Danny says they tried to tune out the noise. ‘We really didn’t pay too much attention to what people were saying at all.’ At the end of the day, Molly says, they just had one objective. ‘I wanted to have fun because we have been in quarantine and the breaks have been put on the entire world. I wanted to kick a heel up and have a good time.’ Mission accomplished.

And Just Like That… available now on Sky Comedy and streaming service NOW.

Gallery

SHOP: The Outfits From And Just Like That

Sarah Jessica Parker
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CREDIT: Getty

Carrie dressed up a swishing floral maxi dress with this sequinned bag from Paco Rabanne. The exact style is sold out, but the brand has plenty more options when it comes to disco-ready accessories.

Paco Rabanne, Nano Disc Mini Bag, £670
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Sarah Jessica Parker
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CREDIT: Getty

Sporting another Fendi Baguette, this time the dinkier Nano.

Fendi, Nano Baguette Charm, £550
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Kristin Davis on the set of SATC
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CREDIT: Getty

A surprising outfit for girly-girl Charlotte, but we love these clean-cut overalls.

Free People, Marci Coverall, £118
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Carrie Bradshaw
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CREDIT: Getty

Batsheva's pink-and-white housedress is a lot nicer than what we wear to do the washing up.

Batsheva, Victoria House Dress In Pink Peony, £166
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Lisa Todd Wexley
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CREDIT: Getty

Lisa is earning a reputation as the group's boldest dresser, pairing this puff-sleeved fuchsia jacket with some sunflower shorts from Max Mara. For a winter alternative, try this leather pair from COS.

COS, Leather Bermuda Shorts, £225
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Carrie Bradshaw
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CREDIT: Getty

Carrie's tutu is back in business. OK, it's not the same pink style she wore in the original show's opening credits, but this long swooshing number is still fetching.

Needle & Thread, Florence Ruffle Ankle Skirt, £295
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Charlotte York
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CREDIT: Getty

Charlotte looks sunny side up, despite the grey skies, in this egg yolk yellow skirt and matching pumps.

LK Bennett, Floret Yellow Suede Closed Courts, WAS £195 NOW £78
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Seema Patel
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CREDIT: Getty

Seema Patel, played by Sarita Choudhury, appeared for the first time on set wearing this criss-cross jumpsuit from Ralph Lauren.

Seren, Shani Jumpsuit, £620
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Carrie Bradshaw
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CREDIT: Getty

We love this combination on Carrie; a fabulous blue-and-orange dress (vintage), a modern-day boater (Rodney Patterson) and towering platform sandals.

Sandro, Kaela Ruched Printed Silk-Satin Midi Dress, £252
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Carrie Bradshaw
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CREDIT: Getty

Is that socks and sandals we see on Carrie?! Her hip surgery in episode five explains the choice of footwear, but it's still a first from our stiletto-loving heroine.

Birkenstock, Madrid Birko-Flor, £55
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Charlotte York
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CREDIT: Getty

Charlotte does modern power dressing in this nipped-waist tweed dress in powder pink from St John.

St John, Tweed Boucle Knit Dress, WAS £1,600 NOW £635
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Carrie Bradshaw
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CREDIT: Getty

The last time she wore a 'bird' on her head, Carrie was marrying Mr Big (/hitting him with a bouquet of roses when he left her at the altar). If you've seen the first episode, you'll know that this meeting is something of a head-scratcher...The outfit however is 10/10. (The polka dot skirt is Carolina Herrera; the hand-painted bag is by artist Rebecca Moses.)

Carolina Herrera, Gathered Polka Dot Silk-Organza Midi Skirt, £465
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Carrie Bradshaw
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CREDIT: Getty

Carrie's flowing maxi dress (an usually bohemian choice it must be said) caused much confusion when some sources said it was vintage and others that it was Forever21.

Mango, Flowy Printed Dress, WAS £59.99 NOW £39.99
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Bridget Moynahan
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CREDIT: Getty

For her confrontation with Carrie, Bridget Moynahan was styled in a polished shirt dress from luxury sustainable label Gabriela Hearst.

COS, Wrap Shirt Dress, £69
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Charlotte York
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CREDIT: Getty

For a scene filmed outside the Lyceum Theatre, Kristin Davis looked exceptionally 'Charlotte', wearing a flower-embroidered cocktail dress from Lela Rose, a powder blue handbag from Louis Vuitton, and a watch from Cartier.

Rixo, Aurelia Embroidered Voile Maxi Dress, £171
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Carrie Bradshaw
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CREDIT: Getty

In the best revival yet, SJP was spotted wearing those peacock blue pumps - Manolo Blahnik's Hangisi - that she last wore for her low-key wedding to Mr Big.

Manolo Blahnik, Hangisi 105 Buckle-Embellished Satin Courts, £795
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Carrie Bradshaw
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CREDIT: Getty

As well as digging out her beloved Fendi Baguette, SJP's also resurrected this studded belt from Streets Ahead. As eagle-eyed fans will remember, the eye-catching accessory made its debut in the first movie, cinching the waist of the rose-printed dress that she wears to go apartment-hunting.

The Kooples, Black Leather Belt With Studs And Eyelets, £85
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Charlotte York
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CREDIT: Getty

For a cafe catch-up, Charlotte ventures into the world of print with a white sundress patterned with blue sailboats from Emilia Wickstead.

Emilia Wickstead, Galen Dress, £1,495
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Miranda Hobbes
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CREDIT: Getty

This is the second pair of wedge sandals spotted on Miranda - proof, if you needed it, that they've come a long way since being the type of shoe your old headmistress would wear in summer.

Russell & Bromley, Headspin Woven Espadrille Wedges, £155
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Miranda Hobbes
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CREDIT: Getty

Miranda's berry red jumpsuit scores a perfect 10 in our book and is from homegrown label Likely NYC.

Safiyaa, Miriana Sleeveless Jumpsuit, £1,138
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Carrie Bradshaw
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CREDIT: Getty

Saint Laurent's Farrah platforms prove that our heroine hasn't lost her love of heels (or serious height).

Saint Laurent, Bianca Sandals In Smooth Leather, £660
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Lisa Todd Wexley
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CREDIT: Getty

LTW is the show's new ambassador for power necklaces (this one is from Monies).

Monies, Palermo Necklace In Polyester, £415
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Charlotte York
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CREDIT: Getty

Charlotte was seen in princess pink dialled to its punchiest max in this blouse, a $154 number from Gosilk.

Kitri, Bretta Pink Floral Cotton Top, WAS £85 NOW £65
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Carrie Bradshaw
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CREDIT: Getty

Carrie was always game for a fancy hat - her fascinator once caused a fight between her Berger, remember? - and this jaunty straw style is no exception.

Emily London, Provence Hat, £645
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Carrie Bradshaw
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CREDIT: Getty

We shudder at the thought of the costume department's shoe wardrobe (it must be similar to when our heroine found herself let loose in the cupboard at Vogue), and love these patent and super stacked Mary-Janes. The necklace has become a new signature of Carrie's, and is from Fry Powers.

Fry Powers, Turquoise & Malachite 14kt Gold-Plated Necklace, £595
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