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01-05-2014
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Interview The Edit
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In a first for The EDIT, actress SARAH JESSICA PARKER stars on the cover for a second time and talks to JENNIFER DICKINSON about inspiring women, how hard it is for designers to succeed and why she feels compelled to fight back.

In March 2013, Sarah Jessica Parker agreed to be one of the first-ever cover stars of The EDIT. This alone is a small indication of her spirit. Most celebrities of a certain strata will wait until you have proved your media mettle before committing to a cover. Parker had not seen a single issue – we were yet to publish – but she listened personally to the premise and promptly signed up. No game playing, no ego stroking.

On that occasion, I interviewed the actress in one of her favorite restaurants, Sant Ambroeus in New York’s SoHo, and inexcusably made her late for date night with her young son, James Wilkie. I was left with a very favorable impression: genuine, eloquent, stylish inside and out. The ultimate woman’s woman, simple as that.
And yet, a year on, in a New York studio on a bright April day, Parker still surprises me. Emerging from behind the screens of a makeshift dressing room and heading straight over for an embrace, she asks after my children by name. I am so shocked that I don’t notice, until she moves across the room to stand in front of the camera, that Sarah Jessica Parker, high-heel icon, is wearing sneakers.

Later, when the shoot crew sits down to lunch, it becomes apparent that such behavior is the norm for the 49-year-old actress. She remembers the makeup artist’s preferred drink (Diet Coke), compliments the stylist’s perfume and jumps to her feet in protest when someone offers to clear her plate. No matter how down to earth journalists might profess certain stars to be, this is exceptional. Mother raised her girl well.

But what tips me over from admiration to adoration are the tears that prick Parker’s eyes as she recounts for me at lunch the next day – we are re-ensconced at Sant Ambroeus – the stories of the women she met the previous evening at the Diane von Furstenberg Awards. Created in 2010, the ceremony honors women “who have transformed the lives of others through their commitment, resources and visibility”. Parker was inspired, even admitting to taking a selfie with one of the winners, Veronika Scott. “Which I never do, because I feel like an idiot,” says the actress. “But you wouldn’t believe how bright Veronika is.”

The pair exchanged email addresses and Parker is eager to help the young woman, who designed a self-heated coat that transforms into a sleeping bag for the homeless. All of the winners made an impression on Parker, who usually prefers to spend her evenings at home with husband Matthew Broderick, their son James Wilkie, 11, and four-year-
old twin daughters Marion (known as Loretta) and Tabitha who, says their mother, would be arguing over whether to listen to songs from Frozen or The Sound of Music.

The powerhouse behind the awards, Diane von Furstenberg, is, naturally, a friend. “I am very taken with her,” says Parker. “The more I know the deeper part of her, the more I like her. She says crazy, wonderfully outrageous things!”

Thanks in no small part to one particular part – Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw – designer friends are something the actress has in abundance. The established, yes – DVF, Oscar de la Renta, Manolo Blahnik (with whose business partner, George Malkemus, Parker has designed her own line of shoes and bags) – but also the likes of Prabal Gurung and Giles Deacon, who dressed her for the Met ball last year. “Oh, he’s the sweetest!” Parker enthuses. “Giles’ designs have such a great sense of humor and irony, but they’re also beautiful and look great on a woman.” (Deacon returns the compliment, calling the actress “a total treat!”)

Her own design experience has only added to the respect she has for such friends. “When I started the shoes, people said, ‘That must be so hard!’ But building a collection of clothing is very different to building a collection of shoes. The ready-to-wear calendar is crazy.”

She’s right, but it’s not just the schedule: it takes a great deal to be successful in the fashion industry these days. Selling dresses with a $1,000 price tag doesn’t guarantee that designers themselves are financially secure. “My heart goes out to designers,” says Parker. “The expectations, the demands they put on themselves. They put everything on the line. It takes fortitude to survive it. I feel so sad about L’Wren [Scott],” she continues of the designer who committed suicide this year. “I have friends who struggle for no good reason; incredibly talented people who have to fight for attention. For the second year in a row I visited the MoMA for my birthday. My husband was out of town, so James and I went to see the Gauguin exhibit. People say it’s the greatest exhibit of his work ever put together. But he died penniless. There was no recognition of his work by the art market. I mean, Gauguin! This is the common story with artists. Everybody is struggling to tell their story. But [designers] have this tenacity to go back, max out their credit card, show 10 looks instead of 30, whatever it takes.”

Parker does not say anything without meaning. She does not throw words around: each one is delivered with passion and honesty. It’s one of the most appealing things about her. You get the sense that worrying about these embattled designers may keep her awake tonight. “I could honestly spend my whole life worrying about people,” she admits. “I worry too much; a lot of things make me really sad. I am not a sad person, but I feel sad for situations people are in. You just can’t fix them all.”

The week of our lunch, Parker found herself with worries of her own, in the eye of a media storm. A woman, who shall remain nameless because the actress does not wish for her to be targeted, sent a particularly vicious message via Twitter; a note of less than 140 characters that called into question the parentage of Parker’s adored twin daughters [the girls were carried by a surrogate, but Parker has generously and honestly stated that they were conceived from her egg and Broderick’s sperm]. I venture that something about the medium means people do not give thought to the words they hurl out into the ether. Parker is unconvinced.

“I don’t think you can be like that without thinking about what you are saying. Other people can be mean, and that’s something I just have to make peace with. That was my worry before engaging in social media; I was afraid of it. I see mean stuff every day: when I look at Twitter I scroll with one eye open and one closed. That particular day, it was just one of the things I saw. I kept scrolling and then I was like, ‘Wait a minute, did she just say that?’ I went back and I thought, ‘Well, this isn’t unhealthy paranoia, this is absolutely conscious. This was a choice.’ She, not subtly at all, said that my children are not my children. There have been a few – let’s say half a dozen – times in my career when I have wanted to respond. I don’t want to encourage people picking on her, because that’s no better. But I wrote back, ‘What? Like, is this fun?’ She never responded and deleted it.

“And what is it about me? I am not somebody who shows off her good fortune; I don’t travel with bodyguards, I don’t live a very glamorous life – I am afraid of all that,” Parker continues. “I don’t talk about my marriage; I am circumspect about my children. I sometimes regret that people don’t understand all that I do and all that I am because I am embarrassed to talk about what I’ve accomplished – I think it sounds self-centric and narcissistic. So I can’t figure out what she hated so much about me that she did that. And I just can’t imagine anything lower than that.”

Parker is particularly flummoxed by the fact that the person dishing out such invective is also female. “Would she say that to my husband? I can’t stand [it] when women say unfriendly things to other women. Why does it have to be like that? Why do we go from [I disagree with you] to I hate you, I attack you, I use words that I know are hurtful? And we’ve never met! You’d think at this point in my life I would be accustomed [to it], but we keep finding new ways of expressing ourselves, new outlets to be unfriendly and cruel.” She pauses. “I would love to hear from her. I would just like to understand.”

The cruelty of the attack is unfathomable to Parker, who always speaks with care and with caring. And it would be a shame if her comments here elicited anything other than an apology from the culprit. But, while it was certainly hurtful and clearly its sting is still being felt, Parker wants to shrug it off, keen that one comment shouldn’t overshadow our conversation. Instead, she shows me a picture of a prized possession she has spent years tracking down: a 1976 Ford station wagon. “Look at the back seats. I grew up in a version of this car,” she smiles. “This one has 74,000 miles on it.” The kicker for me is that Parker is considering naming her automobile baby after me. “Jennifer is a serious contender. I love the name Jennifer. It’s such a ’70s name.”

And somehow, illogically, merely because she likes it, I fall in love with the name I have resented since childhood. That is the power of Sarah Jessica Parker: she makes you feel good. And that is the very best kind of woman.
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03-05-2014
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L'Wren Scott private memorial at Saint Bartholomew's Church in Manhattan




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05-05-2014
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05-05-2014
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WOW she looks amazing. She always looks good in ODLR.

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05-05-2014
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beautiful, world class!!

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05-05-2014
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I know I am in the minority, and I love SJP, but this is a fail for me. I really dislike the hair and the branding on the back of the dress.

I miss her in McQueen.

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05-05-2014
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06-05-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Not Plain Jane View Post
I know I am in the minority, and I love SJP, but this is a fail for me. I really dislike the hair and the branding on the back of the dress.

I miss her in McQueen.

I agree with you, she looks awful.

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06-05-2014
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The Edit magazine Net-a-Porter.com Photo Shoot - HQ



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Gorgeous at Met Gala

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06-05-2014
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She looked incredible last night. Amazing .

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06-05-2014
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If ODLR hadnt embroidered his name in huge letters on the train, I would adore that gown to pieces. That aside, she really fit the theme of the evening and looks magical.

Also, if they were trying to make me feel nostalgic for 'Carrie Bradshaw loves her outrageous fanciful fashion' they did.

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06-05-2014
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She looked incredible!! And being a co-chair, she fit the theme perfectly!! Only SJP could pull that look off.

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06-05-2014
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Out in NYC,April 2014

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08-05-2014
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Late Night with Seth Meyers, May 7, 2014


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