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How Sarah Jessica Parker Lent a Helping Hand to Her Neighbor Christian Siriano

How Sarah Jessica Parker Lent a Helping Hand to Her Neighbor Christian Siriano

Vogue | September 2020

By Sarah Spellings

A good neighbor is there to give you a cup of sugar should you need it. Or, in Christian Siriano’s case, luxury high heels from Italy by Sarah Jessica Parker. For Siriano’s spring 2021 show, which will be presented in a socially distanced format and livestreamed from Connecticut tomorrow, Parker lent shoes from her collection that fit in seamlessly with the colorful gowns Siriano has in store. Handily, Parker had just opened a store five doors down from Siriano’s boutique/atelier on 54th Street, just behind the Museum of Modern Art.

Earlier this week, Siriano hosted a private preview of his new collection for Parker at his atelier, housed in a gorgeous brownstone building that used to be Cary Grant’s office. The actor and shoe designer arrived dressed in an outfit that exemplified her whimsical approach to New York style: a navy polka-dot dress from Siriano’s collection, white dotted shirt, and blue embellished block heels from her namesake label. The two talked about which shoes would go with which look, the exact placement of the T-strap on the Carrie so that it doesn’t cut off your leg, and how the seamstresses could attain such gorgeous puffy sleeves. “I really do feel like I’ve gone back in time,” Parker said of the collection. “You just don’t see this in New York anymore. I feel like I’m going back and visiting Oscar [de la Renta] 20 and 30 years ago."

It is a charming example of friends helping each other out in an industry that has historically been perceived as unwelcoming. “Normally we make our own shoes,” Siriano said. “Italy was closed,” Parker added. “And they still kind of are,” Siriano said. “So I was like, ‘Well, I really love these shoes, let me ask my neighbor!’ I’m still getting my beautiful, gorgeous shoes.” The whole process had to happen in about a week. Luckily, Parker had just received a shipment of shoes, which was her primary concern, as her brand is small. “It was a pandemic miracle, a Fashion Week miracle!” said Parker after seeing the shoes paired with Siriano’s upcoming collection for the first time.

The shoes used in the collection were a mix of SJP classics—like the T-strap Carrie—and trendier styles like the Fawn pump covered in Parker’s initials. Neither Parker nor Siriano could believe how well they matched. The poppy red in the shoes went well with the poppy fabric Siriano had chosen for the collection. After months of working remotely and designing via screens, it was truly a blessing. And both are happy to be getting back to work. Siriano was one of the first New York designers to pivot to making masks at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. His atelier has been making masks ever since and while it’s been necessary work, it hasn’t been as creatively stimulating as creating, say, a pink and black gown with a tulle skirt and structured, blazer-like top. “I just wanted things that were dreamlike,” Siriano said. Given the state of the world—the fires raging on the West Coast, the hundreds of thousands of people who have died from COVID-19—Siriano and Parker recognize that even the most fanciful fashion needs to be grounded in reality. Some of Siriano’s designs for the new collection have a political message (trust me, you won’t be able to miss it on the runway tomorrow). “It’s going to be really powerful,” Parker said. In any other time, we would expect to see Parker perched on the front row in real life, but as it stands, she’ll be watching the livestream and thinking of all the other people who contributed to the collection and production. “We’ll all be cheering as you screen. It’s going to be really nice for people,” said Parker. “I want for all young designers to really have their world back.”

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