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Patricia Field Shares the Story Behind The Sex and the City Tutu

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This week, Racked writer Bonnie Datt conducted an interview with costume designer Patricia Field for the Archive of American Television—a division of The Television Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Foundation, which videotapes in-depth interviews with icons of television. During the 3-hour interview, Pat talked about her childhood, her shops, and her work as a costume designer on shows like Sex and the City and Ugly Betty. The Archive of American Television will be posting the entire interview online soon, (which Racked will link to) but in the meantime Bonnie shares a couple of the highlights.


Photo credit: Archive of American Television

I've been a fan of Patricia Field ever since I was a teenager, when I'd go shopping in her Greenwich Village store during vacations to New York with my parents. I loved all the cool club kid-style clothing, which really stood out when I got them back to Ohio. When I got older, I was excited to learn that Field was the costume designer for one of my all time favorite shows, Sex and the City and even more thrilled when I was later hired to do some comedy consulting work for the sitcom Hope & Faith, which Field was also working on. So when the Archive of American Television asked me to conduct an in-depth interview with the legendary designer, I was excited and honored.

The interview was conducted in Pat's home/studio—which is pretty much what you'd imagine it to be—fabulous, colorful and eccentrically decorated with fun pieces of modern art mixed in with mementos from her life.

Although Pat discussed highlights of her whole career, I confess I was most excited to hear her insights on Sex and the City. The whole videotaped interview will be available soon on the Archive's website, but in the meantime, here are a couple of SATC related highlights:

In the interview, Pat shared her costume design philosophies. She likes to collaborate closely with her actors to find the best clothing for their interpretation of their roles. For many of the costumes used on Sex and the City, the actors were given five different looks to choose from.

Speaking of choices, it turns out that Pat and Sarah Jessica Parker were both immediate fans of having Carrie wear the tulle skirt (A.K.A . the tutu) in the opening credits sequence—but not everyone on the production side agreed. So the opening was shot five times, each with a different ensemble. Eventually, Pat's and Sarah Jessica's vision triumphed, and the legendary tutu won out.

· Archive of American Television [Official Site]
· Patricia Field N.Y.C. [Official Site]