The iconic outfits that cause outrage

Certain items came in for specific criticism. Take the nameplate necklace now so synonymous with Bradshaw that to many it is known simply as the “Carrie necklace”. It was something, Field says in her book, that she spotted on the young Hispanic and African-American customers who came to her shop. When asked, she is straightforward in her take: “Yes, I appropriated the name necklace from the multitude of young, gorgeous girls who were my customers in my shop,” she tells BBC Culture. “The name necklace always caught my eye, but I have always given the credit to them. At the time, I thought ‘Let me show this to Sarah Jessica!’ Happily she liked it.”

But, says Jermyn, “the series itself is consumed in a way [in which] that gets lost,” says Jermyn, “and clearly that’s really problematic”. The show was criticised for its whiteness, its characters criticised for their racist behaviour, and the costumes cannot be untangled from that.

There are privileges inherent in these outfits. “I think it’s important to think about class and ‘appropriate bodies’ as well as whiteness,” says Jermyn. “If a working-class woman or woman of colour or a large-bodied woman dresses in a comparable way that is perceived to be ‘loud’ or ‘over-accessorised’, that would be received very differently from the kind of pushback that somebody like Lily Collins or Sarah Jessica Parker gets.” She continues: “You can think about the kind of things to celebrate around refusing to fit in a box but you still have to ask the question who gets to be able to make that refusal.”

If the clothes are inextricable from the characters, then so is the anger they elicit. From Carrie to Lily Collins’s Emily, the characters that Field dresses aren’t always the most popular. Emily is a peppy young American in Paris, a 20-something marketing executive who eats, sleeps and breathes social media. Her clothes speak to that. Take the day she showed up to her new job in France, without speaking a word of French but wearing a tourist-chic blouse with a picture of the Eiffel Tower on it. Field, who co-designed season one with French colleague Marylin Fitoussi, and stayed on as costume consultant for season two,paired it with Christian Louboutin boots with “Paris” emblazoned across them and a satchel handbag that, Field writes, is “often associated with French women”.

“The ensemble,” she continues, “was consciously trying too hard, just like Emily. Her outfit for her first day of work was an unequivocal, if not slightly misguided, love letter to France’s capital.” Her penchant for literal dressing, from the berets to the Mona Lisa tote, fits perfectly with her pep.

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