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How the 'Sex and the City' reboot's designers created the characters' new looks

"Sex and the City" has been a source of fashion inspiration for over two decades. TODAY spoke with two of the costumer designers responsible for some of those looks, as well as plenty of iconic moments to come.
The costume designers for "And Just Like That ..." sought to create an "adult Carrie look."
The costume designers for "And Just Like That ..." sought to create an "adult Carrie look."andjustlikethatcostumes / instagram
/ Source: TODAY

After nearly a year of anticipation, “Sex and the City” fans will finally be able to enjoy the show’s sequel series, “And Just Like That…,” this week. On Thursday, Dec. 9, Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda Hobbes and Charlotte York will re-enter viewers' lives in the "Sex and the City" reboot on HBO Max, along with some fresh new faces.

Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis are reprising their iconic characters, now in their 50s as they navigate a new stage of their lives in New York City. Despite the absence of one of the series' most beloved characters, Samantha, and the addition of new faces, one thing remains constant in this new “SATC” universe: fashion.

We couldn’t help but wonder: With a reboot, how would the series live up to its reputation for creating iconic looks that go down in pop culture history?

Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago opened up about creating Sarah Jessica Parker's sophisticated new wardrobe.HBO MAX

Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago took on the task as costume designers for the revival series. Both have a long history with the show; Rogers was a co-costume designer alongside Patricia Field during the original and its subsequent movies, 2008’s “Sex and the City” and 2010’s “Sex and the City 2.” Santiago is also returning after serving as co-costume designer on both films.

It’s been a full circle moment not only for the cast, but much of the crew as well. Rogers likened the experience to “the best high school reunion you could ever go to,” which Santiago concurred.

“It’s not just a reunion with the characters, but a reunion with certain items that came out of storage — things that are really beloved that have obviously have been missed,” Rogers told TODAY in a phone interview.

"And Just Like That..." follows Miranda, Carrie and Charlotte as they navigate life in their 50s.HBO MAX

Storage, of course, refers to Sarah Jessica’s Parker famous archive, which consists of almost every single outfit from her character Carrie Bradshaw’s wardrobe. Santiago explained that when they were planning looks for the show, they used her collection to pull a few special pieces for fans of the original series, which ran from 1998 to 2004. Intuitively knowing their image and how they had chosen outfits for them years prior, the costume team was able to approach each character’s look through a more modern lens.

“Then we also — as Pat and Molly had done on the TV show — incorporated vintage, which we all love,” Santiago said. This involved prepping in Florida before heading to New York for the show, shopping for pieces that would suit each character from their favorite vintage dealers.

For Rogers and Santiago, inspiration would strike at different times during the outfit creation process. Rogers said that it could come everywhere from a specific piece to a certain concept, moments from the script, or simply knowing each character so well.

“It happens organically, because we weren't unfamiliar with the show; we weren't new costume designers that were coming in and never seeing any of this,” she said. “Actually, we usually had bought it the first time around, so it was easy for us to go to our memory bank and go, ‘Oh, let's reintroduce that bag that everybody loved.’”

Choosing the costumes for "And Just Like That..." was "a collaborative process" for the show's stars and designers.HBO MAX

Because this isn’t their first time at the rodeo with much of the “Sex and the City” cast, putting together the wardrobe for “And Just Like That…” became a collaborative process. Rogers said Parker, Nixon, and Davis all have their moments when the fittings become a joint effort. Parker especially was a voice that they relied on heavily during the process, though all three women offered great input. Though, as Rogers shared, Davis had a funny way of expressing her feelings about specific looks.

“Kristin will squeal when she sees something she likes. Or she'll say to Danny, ‘Where do you think I'm gonna wear that?’” Rogers said.

Though one might assume both costume designers felt pressure to continue the legacy of a show known for its iconic fashion moments, Roger said that she and Santiago didn't apply that pressure to themselves at the end of the day.

HBO MAX

“I think if Danny and I had let that overbearing vibe take control of us, we would have frozen up,” Rogers said. “We just kind of lived in our own little bubble with S.J. (Parker) especially, and the other girls and new characters.”

Rather than succumb to pressure, they decided to let loose instead. The duo started by creating a fitting room that fostered a creative, free environment; Rogers said everyone "gagged" (in a good way!) when they walked in and saw it for the fist time. She described the environment of the room, explaining, “We felt kind of protected here from the microscope."

“We really tried to keep true to what we felt was right and what we felt that the girls were going to enjoy, and use our favorite pieces that we had," Santiago added. “That was really what we concerned ourselves with, not really what other people's thoughts were. We kept it to what we were doing and trying to make it as creative as we could without being influenced by anyone else.”

Though both costume designers have multiple favorite looks from the new series, they were able to agree on one of their most beloved looks that Parker wears in one of the episodes. The look, which was showcased on the show’s official Instagram account for its costumes, is a colorful madras printed ensemble, which includes a vintage Norma Kamali jacket.

“I thought that was a really adult Carrie look, because it was colorful, it fit her fierce, and she just looked like a cosmopolitan woman in it,” Rogers said of the look.

Despite Parker loving the outfit in the end, Rogers pointed out that when she first saw the look, the actor said, “You’re never getting me in that.” After two fittings, however, Parker changed her tune when she spotted it again on the rack. Ultimately, everyone agreed on the look and decided to go for the wild ensemble for that scene.

Rogers also hinted that some of her favorite looks didn’t make the cut for the show because there weren’t any appropriate scenes, explaining, “A lot of those are hanging on the rack still awaiting their opportunity, if it ever comes.”

In the meantime, Rogers has a small clue about the new series for long-time “Sex and the City” fans, including some Easter eggs to keep your eyes peeled for. “We purposely set some things, like traps, in the closet scenes,” she revealed. “I don't know if the drawer was pulled out in the scene and you see what we laid in there, but we laid some fox traps…for those that are really paying attention. And let’s face it, these fans do.”

Santiago revels in the cleverness of viewers, explaining, “They can pull out so many details from these scenes and they'll know what episode it’s from, they'll know the whole storyline behind it. So it's going to be fun to see what people can pick out and see from what’s in the closet.”

The first two episodes of "And Just Like That..." hit HBO Max Dec. 9. New episodes will premiere each Thursday following the premiere.