Perhaps we have that indomitable New York gal of Sex and the City fame to thank for our love affair with the city’s fashion flair. Carrie (a.ka. Sarah Jessica Parker), under the wing of fashion stylist Patricia Field, trail blazed an iconic look that mixed vintage treasures with designer threads and fine diamonds and jewelry, sourced from the likes of Tiffany’s and Fred Leighton.
So it's no surprise that over 20 years later, Ms. Bradshaw's boho blend has inspired a new industry – Sex and the City tours. On these organized tours, you can take a selfie on the steps of Carrie's brownstone apartment in the West Village and scoff cupcakes at the famous Magnolia Bakery where the foursome got high on sugar and gossiped about men. Dedicated fans of the show will enjoy many fashion flashbacks on these tours remembering Carrie’s crazy signature tutu or the time she danced her way through a McDonald’s wearing a prim pink vintage dress.
To adopt Carrie's style, hitting vintage stores needs to be on your to-do list when you're in New York. Patricia Field (whose own store has sadly closed) revealed some of the spots she scouted when looking for costumes for the show. Ina, in Soho, is her go-to haunt for designer items sold on consignment. This is where Carrie's famous fur coat is from that she wears during the original opening scenes. Clutches and bags (staples of any self-respecting fashionista) were sourced from nearby Amarcord, revealed Field. This hip vintage store is where all SJP's vintage purses were looted.
Sex and the City also had ties to Vogue magazine, with Carrie taking on the role of a writer for the fashion glossy in the TV show. This sealed the love affair between the city and fashion. So, what if you could have a personal shopper show you around who have actually worked at Vogue? Airbnb Experiences offers a shopping experience with a certified wardrobe stylist and Image Transformation Coach. The host, Kat, has worked for Vogue magazine, as well as Harper’s Bazaar, W and Seventeen, and has shot with fashion photographer Patrick Demarchelier (who played a cameo role as the photographer on Carrie’s Vogue shoot on the show).
Your wardrobe transformation with the stylist kicks off at Bergdorf Goodman on 5th Avenue. Here you’ll chat over coffee so she can get to know your preferences and fashion vision. Says Kat: “Together, we will create a vision for your personal style and wardrobe that inspires you, motivates you, and allows you to shine in your authenticity!” How very Carrie!
Carrie’s quirky style was also marked with some exclusive bling. She displayed her love for NY when she wore Yossi Harai’s gold pretzel necklace studded with diamonds (the gems looked like sprinklings of salt). The twisted bread is sold on the street corners in midtown Manhattan, and we love this heartwarming ode to the city. In the movie version of Sex and the City, Sarah Jessica Parker’s tie featured a Verdura gold and diamond Target Brooch. The valuable piece was created in 1940 and worn by New York society ladies.
As the show finally wrapped up, we held our breath as Mr. Big (finally) went down on one knee and popped the question. And it was the engagement ring that got New York talking. The jewel was totally unique - a 5-carat black diamond set in a white diamond and 18K white gold ring. Rare treasures have a history in New York.
A tiny sliver in Midtown has the glittering title of the Diamond District, and it's home to over 2 000 jewelers. Nearly 95 percent of all gems that enter America pass through the hands of the wholesalers and dealers in the jewelry stores of the diamond district, NYC. Interview magazine describes its architecture as "a blend of Beaux-Arts and Art Deco towers". They recommend hanging out and taking in the crazy mix of hawkers and shoppers.
Not everyone visits the Diamond District for the buzz. Some serious trading of one-off pieces goes down here. If you're looking for something unique like Blake Lively's engagement ring (a glorious combo of pink diamond and rose-gold), you'll find some of the most unusual and rare diamond engagement rings in this quarter, along with expert jewelers, familiar with about all aspects of the trade.
One of the city's skilled diamond cutters and dealers is Yair Shimanksy, who recently launched a boutique on 5th Avenue, Shimansky, which is one of the best engagement ring stores. Shimansky is the name behind a couple of unique and patented diamond cuts including the My Girl diamond and Brilliant 10 – considered to be among the most brilliant cut diamond in the world.
These gems are ethically sourced direct from South African mines, and the founder’s passion for the industry is something he wanted to share with others alongside the manufacturing workshop. The Shimansky Diamond Experience is home to replicas of the world’s most famous diamonds that have graced the outfits of celebrities and royalty.
You can schedule a personal appointment with Yair Shimansky who will talk you through the 3 billion-year-old story from a diamond's formation to the final polished stone. Yair's charisma and passion for diamonds and jewelry make him the ideal person to educate you about the cut, color, clarity, and carat weight - a set of characteristics that distinguish one diamond from another.
If you want to fill your fashion cup to overflowing, dive into the historical side of style. The Met Ball is one of the world’s hottest fashion events, but beyond the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s red carpet is an ongoing commitment to reflecting on design.
The Costume Institute at the Met has a collection of more than thirty-three thousand costumes and accessories. They are sourced from five continents and seven centuries of fashionable dress from the fifteenth century to the present.
Diana Vreeland served as a special consultant for the collection from 1972 until her death in 1989. Over the years there have been some truly a memorable exhibitions, including The World of Balenciaga (1973). A redesigned Costume Institute space opened in May 2014, after a two-year renovation.
Another A-list experience offered in New York is by a fashion photographer and stylist (find them on Instagram at @yesimfabiana) who will pull together a fashion shoot of you on a New York rooftop. This ‘tour guide' has access to dozens of private rooftops with incredible views of the city. Here you'll get to capture your New York Look next to the city's most iconic buildings: Empire State, Freedom Tower, The New Yorker, Madison Square Garden. Fabiana will also teach the ropes of posing for fashion photography, including how to hold yourself, how to look at the camera, and how to interact naturally with the environment around you. These are photos that will capture a dream New York fashion experience forever.