Sarah Jessica Parker talks about fashion - and faux pas

Posted: August 02, 2007

Sarah Jessica Parker gingerly jumped up onto a director's chair at the Steve & Barry's store at Franklin Mills; the musky scent of her latest fragrance, Coveted by Coty, lingered in the air.

Wearing a pair of stretch straight-leg gray corduroys, a navy-blue-and-green-plaid blouse, and fuchsia ballet flats from her Bitten line, Parker talked about affordable fashion and faux pas.

"After Sex and the City ended, I had so many offers to design," Parker said.

"But I declined because I had no design skills. I can't drape, and I can't sew a stitch. . . . But when I saw an opportunity to offer well-made American sportswear to people who did not have access to it, it was a concept that I connected to."

Parker was in town this morning to promote her 1,000-piece clothing line, Bitten, which debuted in June at Steve & Barry's nationwide. Hanging on the racks, the clothing line is immense. It includes everything from shirtdresses to bathing suits to lace undies, in sizes 0 to 22.

"The privileged aren't the only people who deserve access to quality," Parker said. And, she added, those deserving people needn't be wealthy and tiny.

In her short appearance, Parker mused mostly about fashion. She wouldn't admit to a favorite designer - "That would be crazy of me, wouldn't it?" - but she likes Narciso Rodriguez and Proenza Schouler. Did she ever make any bad fashion faux pas? "Sure, several," she said. "But one person's faux pas is another's triumph."

She added that she has worked well with stylists. There are occasions when she uses them and occasions when she doesn't, but "I'm not a paper doll."

And with that, Parker was gone. Off to greet the several hundred fans - including some men, a few toddlers, and scores of women. Some were pregnant. Some were young. Some were old. All wanted to see Carrie and try on her line of clothes.

Denise Fike, a Center City artist, brought a 12-foot-high oil painting of Parker to give to her. The painting made it past security, but we're not sure if Parker actually received it.

Most brought only love.

"She's just the best, and I had to bring whoever I had to bring to see her," said Nicole Bayard, 28. Bayard, of Northeast Philadelphia, had her three children and her mother, Lyvonne Webb, 59, who was visiting from Alabama, with her. The mother had organized her trip to coincide with Parker's schedule.

"I already have some of her skirts, pants and accessories," Bayard said. "I like the line a lot."

Contact fashion writer Elizabeth Wellington at 215-854-2704. Read her recent work at http://go.philly.com/elizabethwellington.

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