The Curious Case of Me, Khayyam and Sex and The City
A couple of days ago I came across an Instagram post by @everyoutfitonsatc, an account that documents the sartorial moments of Sex and the City. It seems that for years, the series’ fans have been wondering about Carrie’s mismatched Louboutin sandals in a scene.
A First World problem indeed.
The mystery was recently resolved by actress Sara Jessica Parker confirming that the mismatch was indeed intentional – a decision supported by the show’s legendary custom designer and stylist Patricia Field.
But why does it matter and what does this all have to do with Narosib’s blog? Well, here is the story and it is not about the mismatched shoes.
One mystery has remained unsolved for me: Carrie’s dress. I have been wondering about the dress since the first time I saw it. I have searched everywhere to find out where the mysterious dress has come from and who has made it. I have had no luck so far.
The ivory raffled form-fitting dress is printed with pink floral patterns and eastern miniatures just like the ones you find in old Persian books. Right near the hemline of the skirt is written in Farsi: “Rubaiyat of Hakim Omar Khayyam”. Khayyam is an eleventh-century poet, scientist and philosopher from Nishapur (present-day Iran). The patterns and the old-fashioned style of Persian calligraphy on the dress look as if they were taken directly out of one his poetry books.
The whole scene with the dress in the bar of the hotel in LA lasted less than a minute or two, but I still remember how excited I felt when I saw it the first time.
This scene takes me back to years ago when I was a foreign student in my early twenties. I was trying to figure out my new life in Sweden. My life then had nothing to do with fashion and I never thought it would one day. Living on a tight student budget and being influenced by the Scandinavian casual-practical approach to life, my days were spent in jeans, shirts, heavy-duty boots and coats or anything that made practical sense for the ever-changing weather of Gothenburg.
Fashion in its best form was something so unattainable, so trivial and distant from the reality of my life that I could not even bother with it. But that was not stopping me from admiring beautiful pieces when I saw them. Even to my fashion-ignorant eyes at the time, the styling of the SATC characters looked brilliant.
I found it fascinating that what the characters were wearing always reflected their mood, story and how they felt, and the decisions that they were about to make.
Sex and the City were my (and my girlfriends’) guilty pleasure and pastime activity in the long dark Swedish nights. Something light-hearted that both I and my friends found amusing to watch and fun to talk about. While none of us could really make sense of the American dating culture shown in the series, we all enjoyed the humour, eye-pleasing fashion and the sheer freedom of women shown in it. Despite all the distance and the cultural difference, it was not difficult to identify with the characters.
So, when I saw Carrie Bradshaw, this character who was living a lifestyle so distant from mine wearing a dress with familiar patterns I had grown up with, I could not believe my eyes.
When you are totally immersed in a new culture so far away from yours when no one knows much about where you come from (there was no Instagram those days), seeing those recognizable patterns in the most unlikely place was exciting indeed.
The scene including the exotic dress is part of an episode called “Escape from New York” where Carrie Bradshaw who has just been through a scandalous dramatic breakup with her long-time partner Aiden escapes to LA with Miranda and Samantha to have fun and forget about the past.
The reference to Khayyam resonated perfectly with the spirit of that episode. Khayyam’s free-spirited philosophy is all about being happy and enjoying the moment because nothing in life is guaranteed. He invites you to “drink wine and make love” because who knows what happens next. He believes that to really live is to live in an eternal presence and that everything in life is temporary, including sorrow and pain and our worries for the future. And Carrie is in Los Angeles to have fun and forget about the upsetting events in the past.
Sounds like another thoughtful choice of the outfit by Patricia Field who is famous for storytelling through fashion. In my opinion, just like the shoes, the dress was not a coincidence either.
I am still yearning to know who made the dress. My guess is that it was made by a perhaps lesser-known independent designer. If there is any magic in fashion it is probably where people with all their differences connect over the beauty of an item. Whoever the creative brain behind that dress is, has made me think of designing a scarf inspired by Khayyam.
The magic should continue.
And if you know anything about the designer please drop me a line. And remember life is too short, enjoy the moment.