Sarah Jessica Parker was an influencer long before influencer culture and even social media existed. From the cool, minimal, relaxed separates and aviators she sported in the ’90s, to her head-turning, couture-driven antics as Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw, the actress and businesswoman is a fashion icon who inspires others to don giant flowers and tube tops, let their hair take up space, and understand the power of the heel.
Over the past few years, Parker has harnessed that impact and emerged as a branding master. She’s invited us into her enviable wardrobe with her contemporary shoe and accessory line, SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker; she’s graced us with a slew of feminine fragrances; she has urged us to pick up a book once in a while, with her publishing imprint, SJP for Hogarth — which we can do while sipping a glass of her Invivo X by SJP Sauvignon Blanc.
This week, Parker will launch her latest venture: the SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker sunglasses collaboration with Sunglass Hut. When co-designing the wraparound style, which comes in five different colorways, Parker looked toward her past and was inspired by the large shades she frequently wore in the ’90s.
“They are super simple, they are not trendy, and there's not junk all over them,” she says of the $159 frames that are being sold at select Sunglass Hut stores, SunglassHut.com, SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker boutiques in New York City, and SJPbySarahJessicaParker.com. “There is a sporty quality, but they also look good with a dress — trust me.”
Parker also took her lifestyle as a tried-and-true New Yorker into account when creating the frames. “I walk as much as I can and like being outside among my other city dwellers. I’m on the subway every chance I get. What I like about these lenses is that there is just a slight, very subtle hint of some desire for some privacy, but they’re not forbidding,” she explains. “There is a nice, almost delicate armor quality to them that I think a lot of us look for with sunglasses. In the mornings, people wear sunglasses not just because it’s sunny, but because they’re not ready to be out in the world!”
InStyle sat down for an exclusive chat with Parker to discuss the Sunglass Hut collaboration, her own mother’s style influence, her Blackberry (yes, she still has a Blackberry), and her go-to school-dropoff look. Check out the best parts, below.
What motivated you to design sunglasses?
Honestly, it was a very purposeful exercise. There was a frame that I loved, and it was gone. It's the same thing as when there's a lipstick you love that they then take away from you. I clung to a particular frame, and you would think with Google I could find a version or a replacement, but I never did. Ultimately, we found a partnership with Sunglass Hut. They understood what I wanted to do, and they were willing to do it. It's not a frame that is super typical right now because frames have gotten much more delicate, and precious, and undersized, not oversized. I can also finally have a destination for all the people who asked me constantly on Instagram, and stop me in the street, and for my friends who ask, "Where are your glasses from?"
Whose sunglass style are you inspired by in pop culture?
Not to be a lunatic, but I'm inspired by these frames! I'm not trying to be coy and not mention somebody else. I think it might have a little something to do with when I was a little girl growing up I thought sunglasses were a grownup thing. I thought you get to a certain age and then you get to buy a pair of sunglasses. I think of my mother and almost every picture of her she's wearing these big, 1960s wraparound sunglasses. I just saw her again the other day, and I don't know how she manages it, but she still finds those glasses. That's been a more influential image than I understood initially. Her frames are different than my frames, but she likes the frames I like, which goes to show you that your mother's always right.
We all become our mothers!
Even if we don't become them, they were right. Sometimes it's an action or a gesture or a choice. It's not like she was saying these are the right frames you should wear. It was being around her and seeing her, she's just kind of right.
As a mother of three working on a lot of projects, how do you stay organized?
I read “How to D-Clutter Your Life the Anya Hindmarch Way” in The New York Times about staying organized. I was like, oh my God, I'll be forced into some sort of penitentiary for my lack of organizing. I'm stunned by the deep level of commitment. Though, I do have to rely on a calendar.
When I started in Sex And the City, I didn't have children yet, but Cynthia [Nixon] had a daughter. I'll never forget this, she and I had Palm Pilots, and then she and I had Blackberries (I still have a Blackberry, I love it). She was fierce about keeping a calendar, and I couldn't understand until I had children. She was like, "What's the shooting schedule for next week, or next episode?" And she would stand there, and the first AD would go through her day, and she would put that schedule in the Palm Pilot. For her, if you switched the shooting schedule, it's like a house of cards. I would stare, which I stare at everything from the time I was little (and I would get in trouble for staring). So, I used to stare at her because I didn't understand it. I couldn't know what it meant for her, as a working mother, and trying to juggle her life. So, I came to know very well and understand what that calendar meant the minute I became a mother, and my child's life and interests and appointments and school was as important as anything I was going to do.
Is there pressure to look put together in the mornings?
I don't think I always look super good when I walk out the door. I look like almost everybody else at drop off. I wear the same thing every day, to be honest. I usually have gray pants on and a gray shirt because anything goes with the gray. I wear sunglasses and my hair in a bun, with no base (I don't own a base). I try to be presentable enough so it’s not offensive to somebody in a meeting. I used to think there was a certain way to be appropriate in a meeting, but I think at a certain point in your life you realize, well, my brain is appropriate and I'm going to speak in a way that's appropriate, and hopefully, my ideas are welcome in the conversation. If my gray sweatshirt is offensive to someone, then that's not somebody who wants to be in a conversation with me anyway. I am not able to do it anymore, I'm only able to be myself. I'm just so fricking old and tired. Sometimes I'm like, wow, they look so nice, I'm going to do that soon, and then I'm like, no I'm not!