It’s the perfumed and stylista set that SM Aura Premier wants to entice into its fancy new confines, and Sarah Jessica Parker seems the apt choice to headline the SM Store brand, if the well-heeled throng that trooped to the new Taguig mall Thursday is anything to go by.
Fashionistas were reduced to screaming fans upon catching a glimpse of the actress and fashion icon, who flew in from New York City to grace the mall’s VIP launch. The mall opened to the public on Friday.
Parker, 48, is best known for her role as Carrie Bradshaw in the HBO hit comedy-drama series “Sex and the City,” a Manhattan newspaper columnist, and is credited for having singlehandedly made the designer shoe label Manolo Blahnik into a household name.
Carrie, the show’s narrator, is known for her quirky fashion sense and luxurious tastes. SATC, as the series is known to fans, was a showcase of the hottest brands and trends, as seen on its four main characters. It ran from 1998 to 2004, and spawned two feature films.
The series undoubtedly catapulted Parker to global fame, especially among the fashion crowd, and she continues to be a red-carpet favorite who tends to push the fashion envelop almost as much as her bold and daring boob-tube alter ego. Just recently, her knickers-flashing Giles Deacon ball gown and Philip Treacy mohawk feather hat at the punk-themed Met Gala was one of the most talked about.
“I still feel privileged that someone still allows me to borrow a beautiful dress,” Parker told Inquirer Lifestyle. “I still take it seriously. I honor that. It’s still as much a fantasy now as it was 10 years ago. I’m as tickled by it as I’ve ever been.”
The petite actress faced her fans in a slinky, sheer black dress that showed off her lithe frame. Matching jeweled tennis bracelets adorned her delicate wrists. Her long, gold-flecked mane was parted in the middle and simply brushed to the sides.
“I realized I didn’t know much about the Philippines before I came here,” she said. “I knew that the Filipino nurses in New York are held in extremely high regard, and there are wonderful Filipino babysitters in my neighborhood. But I admit I didn’t know much about the culture and the food until now. It’s been a surprising city. People said you should go to the islands and to the beaches, but I like the city, too. I don’t mind the heat. It’s been exciting and interesting. I wish we had more time. But this will not be my last visit. I hope I’m invited back.”
Parker is the face of the SM Store’s “Love to Shop” campaign, an up-branding of the retail giant’s department store to cater to elite, upmarket and fashion-conscious consumers. The first of the “next generation” of SM Stores can be found in the new SM Aura Premier.
Married to actor Matthew Broderick, Parker spoke about how her life’s pace had changed post-SATC.
“I’ve had other opportunities and I’ve had more kids since, so it has been very fulfilling,” she said. After son James Wilkie, now 10, Broderick and Parker had twin daughters, Marion Loretta Elwell and Tabitha Hodge, born via surrogate, in 2009. The girls will turn four in June.
“It’s amusing,” Parker said of dressing up her daughters. “They dress themselves. It’s a much more colorful experience. My son wasn’t opinionated about what choices were made for him. My daughters have very, very strong opinions about what they wear.”
Parker admitted she has to forego her designer togs most days in favor of jeans and corduroys to attend to her mommy duties.
“I don’t think motherhood changed the way I choose what to wear for evening, or when I’m out with friends or when I go to a business meeting. But as a mom, I get up and the first thing I do is to take the kids to school when I’m not working. I do what probably a lot of mothers do in this country: whatever fits and whatever gets them out of the door in time.”
Her one advice to multitaskers like herself: “Dress in ways that make you feel like you,” she said. “Don’t worry too much about what somebody looks like or what they’re wearing. Walk out the door feeling like yourself. That’s what makes a person feel best.”
Parker has become synonymous to sexy, vertiginous heels, owing to Carrie Bradshaw, who famously said in one episode, “Men I may not know. But shoes, shoes I know!” The actress, however, said she had no tips for women pertaining to standing in stilettos all day.
“I’ve always just done it,” she said. “If it’s shoes I love and it hurts six, eight hours into the day, take them off and rub your feet under the table, then put them back on.”
SM Aura Premier may not carry the luxury labels worn by Carrie and her friends Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda on SATC, but the SM owners like to boast that the mall houses the first stores in the Philippines of new global brands, as well as concept stores of popular brands.
The three-level, 5,590-square-meter store by New York firm Point Design has a more understated, decidedly more upscale look than typical SM stores. In place of colorful graphics and wall and ceiling treatments, lighting is the key design feature.
At the launch, SM announced that the award-winning Parker, who’s known for her charitable causes, donated $100,000 to the SM Foundation to benefit the underprivileged of Taguig.
Parker is a board director for the New York City Ballet and is a Unicef ambassador. A member of President Barack Obama’s Committee on Arts and the Humanities, she adopted last year a Portland, Oregon, school for the Turnaround Arts Initiative.