It was 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, and Bloomingdale’s sixth-floor restaurant was packed. While the majority of fashion week-goers were just exiting Marc Jacobs’ runway extravaganza, a different group of avid shoppers had congregated in the store’s train-car replica to catch a glimpse of another New York fashion style influencer: Sarah Jessica Parker. “She said no selfies, but she was really nice,” noted one attendee, smiling and satisfied with her encounter with the actress.
Parker was making a personal appearance in celebration of her luxury shoe line, the SJP Collection, being sold in Bloomingdale’s for the first time for the fall season. The designer sat down with Erica Russo, Bloomingdale’s fashion director, for a quick Q&A session.
“I played this part on a television series for several years, and she had a very feverish relationship with shoes,” said Parker. “When the show ended, people started to asking me about doing a shoe line. I was delighted and loved thinking about it, but I had a very hard time saying yes to the opportunity. Finally, one day I sat down with three women who I greatly women admire and they asked what I wanted to do, and I said, ‘What I really want to do is be in business with George Malkemus III [chief executive officer of Manolo Blahnik]. I love the way he conducts his business, I love the quality of his shoes, I love [the way] he maintains his business and the way he thinks about his customer and retail partners. I went home and did the outrageous thing and picked up the phone and asked if he’d ever consider doing a collection together. And he said…”
Malkemus chimed in from his spot in the crowd: “Come to my office at 9 a.m. tomorrow.”
Parker continued once the laughter died down. “I realized that the reason I couldn’t say yes before was because everyone wanted me to do really inexpensive shoes. They wanted shoes for $69.99 — I knew I couldn’t ask someone from her hard-earned dollar for a shoe that I wasn’t going to wear myself. It would be dishonorable.”
She went on to share one of her first luxury-footwear memories — a trunk show for Manolo Blahnik, of course. “There were maybe three or four of us there. I took out my credit card and ordered maybe four or five pairs of shoes. It had to be paid off because it was American Express, and you know you have to pay that off. When they arrived, one pair was a simple flat shoe in a cognac suede and it was a sort of quirky shoe that was of the moment. When I lifted the sock lining, Manolo had signed the shoe.”
Those in attendance had their own special moment minutes later, when Parker, Sharpie in hand, mingled among the crowd, happily signing boxes of all those newly purchased SJP heels.