By: DENISA PALSHA
How Sarah Jessica Parker parleyed her shoe knowledge into a budding footwear empire.
A decade ago, Sarah Jessica Parker, known for her iconic role as Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City,” expanded her influence beyond acting by venturing into the world of fashion with her eponymous shoe brand. Today, renowned for her impeccable sense of style and love for footwear, Parker’s brand embodies elegance, sophistication, and a touch of whimsy. To mark the anniversary, the brand’s latest offerings include a new silhouette named Oath and a collaboration with Lele Sadough that yielded a line of fun attachable accessories that change the shoe’s appearance. The trimmings pay homage to Parker’s love for the little details by incorporating delicate touches like bows, ribbons, and standout embellishments, making each pair distinctively SJP.
Launched in 2014, the SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker brand was born out of Parker’s desire to create footwear that resonated with women on a personal level. A few years later, that personal attention has transformed into a highly coveted line of wearable high heels and an unprecedented customer service one can experience at her NYC store, where Parker can often be found personally tending to the needs of her clients.
Parker partnered with the best arbiter in the ‘shoe business’ to get things started – legendary Manolo Blahnik’s CEO, George Malkemus III. “We arrived in NYC the same month or the same year and share many fashion references from those early days on the island of Manhattan. Those points of inspiration played an influential role in our design process” says the actress on work with Malkemus. United in their love for colors and designers of the past, the two made for a perfect creative duo. Parker, who co-designed each collection with Malkemus until his passing, would partake in every creative decision, pulling inspiration from historical references and current trends. The shoes often showcased vibrant colors, bold patterns, and unique details, mirroring Parker’s fearless approach to fashion.
“We found our footwear collection upon three main pillars: delivering quality products, using color and sparkle as neutral, and giving single sole a new heartbeat,” says Parker, for whom quality is an imperative part of the product. Handmade in Tuscany by third and fourth-generation Italian shoemakers with a long history of excellent craftsmanship, all SJP styles are made from fine Italian leather and fabrics, purposely selected for durability and softness. The shoes are equipped with extra padding under the ball of the foot, where the foot absorbs the most complex pressure.
“The collection we are offering has been thoughtfully detailed to include a combination of what we call our ‘Evergreens,’ the silhouettes that we will always have and always update in new colors, as well as current styles and exclusives that can’t be found anywhere,” the actress adds. Over 25 styles of Evergreens are crafted in Scintillate fabric, a SJP brand staple, that creates a sparkle effect, illuminating the shoes through its holographic metallic imprint. Several signature pieces feature a grosgrain ribbon, a nod to Sarah Jessica’s childhood memory of wearing them in her hair. “We developed the SJP collection to encourage women to take risks and break away from the fashion rules,” remarked the style icon about her design philosophy. Douchessa Gardini – one of the SJP bestsellers that made its debut on ‘Sex in the City’ remake ‘And Just Like That’ clearly fits the bill. The quirky boot was designed per the suggestion of series costume designer Molly Rogers, who wanted to adorn Bradshaw’s looks in silhouettes she hadn’t been able to find anywhere. It was a natural fit, taking Parker’s creativity to another level, creating the series’s faux-vintage style ‘darlings,’ with removed sock-liner and the signature grosgrain touch.
With a decade of experience under her belt, the designer shows little proof of slowing down, hinting at many new collaborations and silhouettes to come. All this while the brand continues to captivate fashion enthusiasts worldwide, who make their pilgrimage to her shop in NYC’s West Village with a glimpse of hope they will get to play shoe dress up with the icon and score some fabulous heels to boot.