For better or worse, we all knew exactly what “And Just Like That” would look like well before the premiere thanks to dozens of paparazzi photos leaked during filming. And that meant everyone had an opinion, particularly when it came to the cast’s wardrobe.
In fact, nearly everything Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis’ characters wore has been analyzed and dissected with the kind of scrupulous attention to detail reserved for only the most diehard obsessives, of which there are millions. There’s even an Instagram devoted to entire fashion credits from the reboot.
The reactions have been… passionate, to say the least. Fashion played such an important role in the series and two movies, so of course the new wardrobe was expected to be on par. But between Forever21-gate, the first promotional photo of Carrie in platform shoes and some questionable styling choices, it seemed that many people had already rendered their style verdict.
Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago, the costume designers behind “And Just Like That,” are well-aware of the internet discourse surrounding the show’s wardrobe. For their part, the duo launched their own IG account, @andjustlikethatcostumes, which documents some BTS fashion moments from set. (Patricia Field, the legendary costume designer behind the series and two movies, did not work on this project.)
As the reboot unfolds, however, Rogers and Santiago promises many of the public’s questions related to the costumes will be answered. In the meantime, the two spoke with PAPER about the intentions behind their styling choices, SJP’s glorious fashion archives and reuniting with the cast.
Molly, you’ve been with the show since the very beginning. What was it like to take on this project without Pat Field and what are some of the things you learned most from her?
Molly Rogers: It was familiar territory for me, especially with the girls and the producers because I’d grown up with them —literally. Because I worked with Pat for so long and I established the way in which we worked on our different projects — like how fittings ran and things like that — it was instituting a system that I had created for myself and Pat anyway. So I felt very at home on that end. I was in in fittings with Pat all through the series and through the two movies with Danny and did the Devil Wears Prada with Pat. Through osmosis, I have inherited, I feel like, a lot of Pat’s DNA. I’m not Pat’s replacement, I’m no substitute for Pat. But I am from the House of Field. That is a very particular point of view.
How did you and Danny approach the workload this season? Did you have split responsibilities?
Molly: The producers on the show, have and always have, given the costume department a great deal of freedom. There’s only one person you report to and that’s Michael Patrick King. A lot of times, there’s a lot of interference from the top. But on this show, which is what really contributed to the success of the original version, there was no meddling. You feel like you can do and show lots of different things and you’re trusted. I remember one time on the original show, an executive came in to look at Carrie’s rack on Season 2 and she touched a pair of Christopher Nemeth jeans, and the lady said, “Who is going to understand this jean in Kansas?” and Pat kicked her out of the room! [laughs] It’s hands-off! Danny is a really calm person and I am a drag queen in disguise. I think we make a pretty good team because Danny’s calm, I’m twirling around, flipping out, gossiping, and stirring things up.
Danny Santiago: Yeah I’ve always been really into vintage and stuff. So for me, I always have loved how Pat and Molly, from the show, were always putting the outfits a lot with the vintage background. I think that’s also something that didn’t exist before them doing it on the show. I feel that brought so much awareness to the whole styling of how people wear vintage. We find these incredible pieces that nobody else has and style it with contemporary pieces that are sometimes top-designers and other times things that anybody can purchase. It’s all about mixing it all together and creating her style.
What do you both make of all the social media noise surrounding the characters’ wardrobe when paparazzi photos from set would leak?
Molly: I think with all the attention and how devoted the fashion fans are to the show, I think that could have affected any person who came in behind Pat and picked up the baton. But Pat passed the baton to us. From the beginning of this, we stayed in a bubble. We read the scripts and we have to answer to the plot. There are some looks out there on social media that people despise or want to kill me for or whatever. [laughs] But they don’t know what’s going on in the story! Half the time, the girls are in their own clothes because they’re freezing or something. They think she’s wearing a flip-flop in the show or something, and they get all crazed.
The only thing that broke our bubble was when we were accused falsely of fast-fashion. It was the “Forever 21-gate” that happened and we got hung out to dry over that. But I kept remembering what Pat told me when she said, “I really want you to do this, you’ll have a great time,” and Sarah Jessica wanted me to do it. Pat told me to keep the whimsy of clothes in and don’t let it get too serious because this is a comedy. It’s not a documentary. We tried to keep it cute and light and let the Internet tear it apart. We were totally under the radar in the original series and the movie — we could do anything. No judgment. But this time around, it felt like the Roman Coliseum and the thumbs up and the thumbs down as soon as anybody steps out of their trailer.
Just to set the record straight, that dress Carrie wore wasn’t Forever 21 then?
Danny: It was something that I had thrifted years ago. At least five years ago, I bought it in a thrift store with no label. From what we know, there was a brand out of India, a clothing brand that that dress came from originally. Before Forever 21 knocked that dress off and they had it in their stores. But being that there’s no label on it, we have no idea where it came from.
One of the things I and many others love from the original version is how integral a role fashion played in terms of the script and character development. There was a lot of name-dropping of labels like Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo and Dolce and Gabbana. Can we expect anything similar in the reboot as far as fashion being another character in that sense?
Molly: Like in the dialogue? There’s some of that because the writers love to incorporate brands into the girls’ dialogue when they’re sitting around the coffee shop or wherever they are. A lot of times, that’s actually good for a good laugh. You can twist it and have fun with it. Not laughing at it, but laughing with it. That’s in there again in the dialogue, where they’ll reference something. She’s not in a runway show going down the runway falling down in Dolce and Gabbana. There are no repeats but it’s there.
The ladies are now in their 50s as opposed to their mid-30s. How much of that did you take in to account when pulling looks?
Molly: Am I dressing Mr. Big any different? I doubt it.
Danny: The girls are who they are. The looks that they wear and the style they are. It’s just like I was saying before, it’s about finding new things and new designers to work with. It’s not that much different as far as what they’re wearing. We didn’t change who they are.
Molly: I don’t think it created any parameters for us. When I think of myself 10 years ago, nothing has changed about my clothes. I’ve just discovered new people. As all New Yorkers do, we are creatures of habit. We go to the same place to get our coffee, we walk the same way to work. I think New Yorkers are creatures of habit and that goes with your wardrobe and closet as well. You find new things, but you pretty much stay in your lane and you know what you like.
There are obviously brands right now that weren’t around during the original series. What newer designers did you get to pull from this time around?
Molly: There’s someone that I met through Instagram and his name is Rodney Patterson, he’s the milliner. He makes his hats in Bushwick, Brooklyn. I was so thrilled that he was so close to the studios. It was literally sending him the hat size and then getting a straw hat in any color, custom made. That was really exciting. He recently opened his first brick-and-mortar store in the East Village. He was involved in maybe Project Runway. But he was somebody I didn’t know.
Danny: Yeah, we used Christopher John Rogers. We had so many like Fe Noel… Brandon Blackwood is a designer that makes handbags that we discovered. Adore Adorn jewelry is another brand that we used.
Molly: You know what was fun? We reconnected with XULY Bet, while in Paris. They were around back in the day but then they disappeared a little bit. They came out of the pandemic and we got to reconnect with them. That was cool.
From the paparazzi photos I’ve noticed that Carrie is wearing a lot more…fabric these days. I guess it’s very boho, a lot more voluminous, a lot more covered up — with some exceptions. Was that change intentional? There seems to be more layering and fabric.
Molly: There’s definitely been more layering. There’s this jacket that we are all in love with from the old series. We called it “rum raisin.” It was Margiela or somebody. It’s got this great weight to it. We kept running across this style of jacket everywhere we went vintage-wise. Like the Roger Vivier belt and Fendi Baguette, it started to become this thing. I guess it created this kind of layer on her. But it wasn’t on purpose.
Danny: She felt comfortable in that, it was slouchy and draped on her. I think about how oversized tailoring is going on right now. That made a path into what we were doing and we continued doing it throughout her look.
Molly: I want to say something about the true fans of this show. Because they watched so many reruns, and those girls are ingrained in their minds from the original show. A lot of people can quote entire episodes. They know them so well. Sometimes it’s hard for people to let the girls out of the time capsule. They don’t want them to change at all. That’s a lot about what the show is about. Friendships are changing, life is changing, life has changed. The girls are at different parts of their lives and different things are happening to them.
I’m glad you said that. I’m one of those people who find it hard to grasp that they’re not going to look the exact same that you saw them all those years ago. I can admit to that.
I think it’s natural. I think that if we had tried to do something else, we would have been accused of probably inappropriateness or something. I will say though, a good example of this, did you see the blue Norma Kamali dress?
Oh yes, so form-fitting!
People saw Carrie’s body and they were excited. But there’s a reason she was in that dress there.
What do you make of that? People seemed to really respond to seeing her body finally, as opposed to hiding under layers of clothes.
Molly: It wasn’t hiding. We weren’t hiding anything, it was kind of where we were and what our styling mechanism was.
Danny: She still had a slouchy blazer with it.
Molly: But, seeing how that Norma Kamali, body-conscious, one-shoulder dress is a throwback. People saw it and were thrilled.
Speaking of throwbacks, I know you said before there’s going to be various Easter eggs as far as style moments that reference the movies or the series. What was it like to bring back some of those elements?
Molly: It was amazing to have access to SJ’s archives. Of course, she wanted to be very thoughtful and we did too when we pulled something out. I tried to put stuff in the background so super-fans would say they saw it on the shelf. Those pieces that people adore are like seeing old friends that you haven’t seen in a while. It’s like omg! The Gucci belt bag! It’s like going up into the attic and finding old baby pictures. It’s like going down memory lane. It’s an amazing show that we even have the memory lane to grab back from.
Danny: Because most shows didn’t have that and they didn’t hold on to these pieces. This is something that she’s kept in an archive for all these years. And to have access to that was amazing.
Molly: I think they have to be used very carefully. It’s not a dime a dozen. I can think of several things that there’s only one of them because nobody saved the other ones. Or the fashion house we borrowed it from didn’t keep one also. So they’re pretty precious little treasures. I was trying to put that Judith Leiber cupcake purse somewhere. Kristin took a picture of it and posted it. I was in shock. The fans were going nuts. They wanted to track Lily down and kill her. I didn’t realize people were so upset and thought she ruined that wedding. It was like Frankenstein’s castle. They had their torches ready for a kid over a handbag.
Oh yes, people have strong feelings about that scene.
Molly: I was going to put it in her bedroom on a shelf. Then I was like, I better not! It’s dangerous.