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Sunday Lifestyle

Sarah Jessica Parker loves the shopping, the jeepneys and even the traffic in Manila

JACKIE O’ FLASH - Bea Ledesma - The Philippine Star

How does Sarah Jessica Parker look on a regular Saturday morning?

“Just like this,” the Sex and the City actress quipped. Parker, who was in Manila to launch The SM Store at Aura, the new shopping destination at The Fort, was garbed in a long-sleeved floor-length dress, the skirt sheer enough to reveal lean legs and a black bodysuit underneath. 

“I knew tonight was a very auspicious occasion,” she said during the press conference. “I felt very honored to be here and wanted to dress to show my gratitude.”

The 48-year-old actress is more diminutive than expected, with a tiny waist, petite figure and great skin. Despite a fatiguing schedule — Parker landed in Manila on Tuesday, flew back to New York early Friday â€” she left a strong impression on the crowd gathered at the SM Store entrance.  Screams of “Sarah Jessica, I love you!” filled the hall as excited fans caught their first glimpse of the celeb. 
On her endorsement, she said she was “very honored, very thrilled, very flattered.”

As the face of SM’s “Love to Shop” campaign, Parker was shot by NY-based photographer Daniela Federici, known for her work on the campaigns of Bobbi Brown, Rachel Roy, La Perla, Smirnoff and J Brand. 
The photographer and her team flew in earlier to prepare for the shoot, reportedly shipping in P800,000 worth of rented lighting equipment from Hong Kong. The 130-person crew was so large, the equipment so vast, that SM had to book White Space, the Pasong Tamo event space, in order to fit everyone. With over a hundred people on set, tents were set up in the parking lot to accommodate the large number of staff. 

On Manila

“Just driving around the city here, there’s so much to see,” she says. “Your streets are so active, so alive. There’s such a vibrancy to the city.”

Despite the abbreviated length of her stay, Parker made it a point to experience some of Manila: having lunch at a dampa, sampling rustic local food at Dencio’s. The actress visited A11, the furniture store in Pasay famous for its stylish merchandise, located in an artists’ compound that houses the atelier of designer Jojie Lloren as well as an art gallery. Parker was a fan of the space — and the furniture, which she had shipped back to NY. She commented that she could live there if she called Manila home. 

“I’m always attracted to cities, I always see the virtue in cities. It’s as much about what my eyes see — like what do you call ‘em, the jeepneys. All the shopping of the eye — as much as shopping here in SM — that to me is equally as interesting. I love to walk around the streets of New York and see people of different sizes and shapes and backgrounds, smelling different foods, looking at different architecture, the way people sit on a stoop.”

“I think this is an amazing city,” she added. “I know there’s so much else to see and to know and so many islands to go to. But I really enjoyed my time here. Everyone was so kind and showed me such lovely hospitality. I even like the traffic!”

On her personal style

Parker is inextricably linked to Carrie Bradshaw, the Sex and the City character she portrayed for over six seasons on HBO and later in the sequential film releases. Though they have much in common, Parker says there is an essential difference between the two: their style.

 â€œI always thought Carrie was much more bold than I was,” Parker explains. “But I think I learned from her that there is something kind of exciting about breaking rules. This idea of one color not going with another or mixing patterns — all these conventional ideas about what is right and wrong about fashion, she sort of said “I’m going to throw all those ideas into the bin.’”

 Though she credits her TV alter ego with a sartorial boldness, Parker is not afraid to take risks, as seen in her recent Met Ball Gala punk-inspired ensemble: a boldly-patterned Giles Deacon dress and oversized Philip Treacy headpiece. â€œI thought about the theme,” she told The STAR. “How much do I want to embrace it and how literal do I want to be? Since I don’t have a long storied history with punk, what can I wear that’s a nod to the scene without looking like a lunatic?”

When asked if she dressed up for her critics or her fans, she answered, “I don’t think I could ever dress to either disprove critics or to be in their better graces.”

Often seen in tabloids in her everyday garb as well as her red carpet attire, Parker understands the dynamic between star and fawning audience/vitriolic fashion police.

“I think the best you can do is be yourself, make choices that you feel good in. It’s highly likely someone will disapprove or someone will find it objectionable. But one cannot leave the house trying to please every single every person every day. It’s not very realistic and it’s probably not a healthy way to live a life.” 

On life and fashion

What she wears on a regular Saturday morning: “I’d probably be in my nightgown with my kids for a while, then if I don’t have to very presentable, I’d be in my jeans or corduroys. It’s pretty warm in New York, so something light, nothing fancy.”

On how she styles herself: “I like to wear things that are comfortable, that I feel like myself in, that fit me well and conveys the mood.”

On the one piece in her wardrobe she can’t throw away: “A pair of old suede black Manolo Blahnik pumps.”

On her shopping philosophy: “Nobody looks good when they’re adopting someone else’s persona. Buy something that makes you happy.”

BOBBI BROWN

BUT I

CARRIE BRADSHAW

DANIELA FEDERICI

NEW YORK

PARKER

SEX AND THE CITY

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