Patricia Field: Confessions of a Stylist

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Although Patricia Field is probably most well-known for creating Carrie Bradshaw's look on "Sex and the City," she's been in the fashion business for years and has served as the costume designer for many movies and TV shows including "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Ugly Betty."

Another character lucky enough to be styled by Ms. Field is "Confessions of a Shopaholic's" Rebecca Bloomwood played by Isla Fisher. If you've never read Sophie Kinsella's best-selling series of books that the movie is based on, Bloomwood is a writer who dreams of working for her favorite fashion magazine -- and also happens to be obsessed with shopping. Although the movie doesn't debut in theaters until February 13, Field gave omg! a little insight into Rebecca's colorful wardrobe, as well as her own personal style.

How would you describe Rebecca Bloomwood's style?
"It reflects her shopaholic affliction. It's bold, it's eclectic, it's hyper-reality. Her whole room is a closet, so [her wardrobe] is massive. When you have this volume, you can put it together in so many [different] ways because you have so much to choose from."

Which designers did you turn to when dressing Rebecca?
"Igot her a lot of clothes from Tokyo -- Harajuko Shibuya, which is youngfashion, lots of color. [Isla's] little and the clothes [from Japan]fit her better."

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Because Becky's wardrobe is so eclectic, is their a particular piece that you think will resonate with filmgoers like Carrie Bradshaw's nameplate necklace did?
"Time will have to answer that question. When we created Carrie, we weren't really sitting there knowingly creating trends. That just sort of came after the fact. I'm not a trend forecaster."

Fashion isn't always cheap. What's the one item you would splurge on if you were living on a young editor's salary like Becky's?
"I wouldn't splurge on any one item. I would try to get the most for my buck. When I was a teenager, Loehmann's was really special. It wasn't a big chain store like it is today. It was up in the Bronx in New York and I would go there all the time because I knew labels and I knew designs and I knew fabric. I'd go buy a suit or a dress that maybe would cost $600 and I would get it for $99. If you know what you're doing, you can do it."

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Do you identify yourself with being a shopaholic?
"No, I have been able to turn my shopaholic tendencies into a positive career, but when I'm not working I tend not to shop anymore because I shop all the time!"

Did you study fashion?
"No, I studied liberal arts. Fashion was a means for me ... it was a means to an end. Fashion was something that just seemed easy and I concluded that I could be successful at it because it was easy."

Why do you think you've become the go-to costume designer for everything set in NYC?
"Well, they don't come to me for police shows. [Laughs] I'm not doing 'Law and Order.' If you do something long enough and you stay with it because you enjoy it, you get good at it. I had my shop for 20 years before I started working in film and TV in the mid-80s. I liked it and I was capable of doing it because I had so much experience. Styling your customers in the store is the same thing as styling a character. I never call my salespeople 'salespeople.' I always call them stylists, because that's what they are. They put things together for people. To answer the question, I've been around long enough and I'm the last man standing and I'm probably the most experienced."

It's probably more than that. Your stylings really add so much to the productions you work on.
"I'm glad you think so. I guess it's the way I see something. I really don't take second-hand information, let me put it to you that way. I don't copy things out of magazines because it's already second generation."

It's your vision ...
"... my vision based on whatever I see here and there on the streets, on people, just anywhere. Ideas are like little stars flying around in space. But firsthand information is the most important thing."

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How would you describe your own personal style?
"I would describe it as simple, it's classic in my own way, it's kind of timeless, but it's classic with a twist of theatricalness."

Where are some of your favorite places to shop?
"My own store [Patricia Field], and I love Century 21 [in NYC], and I love 109 in Tokyo."

Is there a celebrity whose style you particularly admire?
"I like Victoria Beckham's style very much. It's consistent, it's complete, it's her own, and she's known for it."

Many of the characters you dress are successful working women who look fabulous as they run around NYC in a pair of high heels. As most New Yorkers know, that's not always a practical choice with all the walking that they do.
"I'm not here to recommend Dr. Scholl's to women. I make movies, I tell stories, I make unrealistic flights of fantasy for entertainment. I don't make realities. I'm really not responsible [for telling] somebody who makes a salary of 20 thousand dollars a year how they can afford a closet full of Manolos. I have no idea! I'm there to please the people. That's my job ... to give people a nice evening of entertainment or whatever and if people are happy that's what I'm after."