Season two of HBO’s And Just Like That … (the sequel to Sex and the City) landed on Binge last Thursday. And in the first two episodes costume designers Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago have made one thing clear: not all women of (television) New York are made equal.
Quiet luxury – the “trend” for wearing discreet, timeless pieces – can also be called the Succession effect. For four seasons we watched the ultra-rich swan about in sleek outfits that inspired a desire for investment dressing. Shiv Roy (played by Australian actor Sarah Snook) sported a wardrobe of silk shirts and wide-leg pants that whispered wealth. There were cameos from brands like The Row, Max Mara and Toteme – and a strong disdain for ludicrously capacious bags – amid the searing expletives and sibling rivalry.
But I’m not here to talk about understated elegance.
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We all know that Carrie Bradshaw likes her money right where she can see it: hanging in her closet. And while the fictional columnist has a way with words, it’s her wardrobe that often speaks the loudest. From the iconic Manolo Blahnik shoe collection – the equivalent of a house deposit – to Versace dresses, Chanel shirts and Dolce & Gabbana miniskirts, Bradshaw’s style screams dollar signs.
The first episode in season two of AJLT is centred around the Met Ball, and we are flung immediately into a fashion frenzy. After Sarah Jessica Parker’s character faces a wardrobe crisis, she pulls out the custom Vivienne Westwood gown (complete with the blue bird on her head) from Bradshaw and Big’s almost-wedding in the first Sex and the City movie. Then there’s Lisa wearing bold red couture: “It’s not crazy – it’s Valentino,” she tells her husband. Seema dons a golden Balmain hooded gown and Charlotte’s equestrian-inspired ensemble is topped with a Stephen Jones hat originally designed for a John Galliano show.
The mood is more-is-more. This is fitting for the ostentatious nature of the event. But it also speaks to the show’s style DNA.
Throughout the first two episodes, keen-eyed fashion fans have spotted pieces from Rosie Assoulin, Altuzarra and Dries Van Noten – brands that are notorious for their vibrant print work and playful approach to fashion. The polar opposite of what we witness in Succession’s version of Manhattan.
Fashionable fowl make another appearance in episode two as Bradshaw clutches at JW Anderson’s pigeon bag. Leopard print is plentiful thanks to Lisa and Seema’s style choices, but pattern clashing is something we have come to expect from the ladies of director Michael Patrick King’s New York. Charlotte is prim and proper as ever in a Gucci pussy bow blouse and a pencil skirt as she sets off to find the Chanel dress her daughter sold on “The Real Deal” – a guerilla version of reselling platform The Real Real. There’s no denying the wealth in these women’s wardrobes – in fact, it’s openly discussed how much a piece from Karl Lagerfeld’s last collection will be worth in a few years.
With nine more episodes to come (which reportedly will include appearances from Aidan Shaw and Samantha Jones, two characters yet to appear in the AJLT franchise), it’s safe to say that muted colour palettes and clean-lined aesthetics are a thing of fictional New York past. It’s time to pull out your tutu and do SJP proud as fashion makes itself heard again.
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