Last Tuesday night, at Montreal’s Fashion & Design Festival, we had the privilege of spending an evening with a true style ICON: stylist extraordinaire Patricia Field!
If you’re not familiar with the name, you’re 100% familiar with her work. She was the costume designer on the television phenomenon Sex and the City, as well as the two films that followed, not to mention the now iconic film The Devil Wears Prada with the luscious Meryl Streep!
We’ve obviously been a fan of hers since Sex and the City, where the clothes were almost as important as the story (which led us to ask her an important question, more on that later).
When it comes to telling a story with clothes, there is really no one better than Patricia Field, which is why she works so well in film and television. She can take you into the mind of the character just by looking at what they’re wearing.
Field’s first job as a costume designer in film was way back in 1987, the Diane Lane psychodrama Lady Beware. A film no one saw, but that led Pat to other film work and established her reputation in the business. In 1995, while working on the film Miami Rhapsody, she met Sarah Jessica Parker and developed a friendly relationship with her, which is why 3 years later, after shooting the pilot episode without her, Pat was brought in as costume designer on Sex and the City, and the rest is history.
During the talk, Field mentioned that at the beginning of the series, Carrie’s (Sarah Jessica‘s character) styling was a little better than the other three women, and that was because she knew Parker and had a good relationship with her. She knew what she liked, what looked good on her and most importantly what she felt comfortable in. Once Kim Cattrall, Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis found this out, they did all they could to get close to Pat so that she would up their fashion game on the show. A few seasons into the series, all four women had a very distinctive style and they all looked AMAZING!
Before being the go-to stylist for fashion lovers, Pat was a business owner and still is today. She opened the Patricia Field Boutique in New York City in 1966! Located at 306 Bowery, the store is heaven for anyone looking for something unique and exciting to wear! We’re currently living in a world where we can find 3 of the same retail store on one block in most major cities, so a refreshing oasis like the Patricia Field Boutique is a life saver for people who like to stand out.
Unfortunately, we didn’t delve too deep into the inner workings of her styling work during the presentation, the questions she was asked were mostly about her experiences in various projects, her love of Meryl Streep and how much fun she had at Studio 54.
During the question and answer period, we asked her about her styling work for film and television, how she made her choices so that the clothes never overpowered the story. She had it down to an art. If you think about all the crazy things the girls wore on Sex and the City, none of it crossed that very fine line. The clothes never distracted from what was going on between the characters. Pat answered the question in a very funny way, she said ”the producers came to me in season 3 and said ”Pat, your clothes are too strong, they’re taking away from the script” and I said to them ”Well, write better scripts!””
Then she elaborated and said that for her, it all happened in the fittings. If something overpowered the actress and felt too strong, it wouldn’t work. Something might work on someone but not on someone else, it all had to do with how comfortable the actor is and if they can pull it off.
Her most recent project, the television show Younger, has been picked up for a second season, and the producer asked her if she would like to direct and episode of the show this season. She is very excited about the prospects of starting to direct, always up for a challenge, even at 74 years old!
Pat ended the conference by talking about trusting your instinct and doing what you’re good at in life. Good advice no matter what field you work in. She also said she owns a script with one of her friends and that they’re trying to get it off the ground and would love to make it in Greece.
Patricia Field is an inspiration and hearing her speak passionately about what she loves was a revelation. We’re so glad she accepted the invitation!