The actress and designer talks to Tatler about what she considers when designing shoes for her brand, SJP Collection, and shares how she styles her shoes

Sarah Jessica Parker had always wanted to launch a shoe brand—perhaps influenced by her shopaholic character Carrie Bradshaw from the stylistically iconic show, Sex and the City, which ran from 1998 to 2004 and spawned two feature films.

Parker herself has been a footwear collector since the ’80s. Her new line, SJP Collection, exclusively available at Lane Crawford, came to be from years of wearing countless pairs and eventually wanting to establish her own footprint in the fashion industry. Parker tells Tatler about her experience setting up her brand, where she found design inspiration and who made her fall in love with shoes in the first place.

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How and why did you start your own shoe brand?
Getting into the footwear business was something that had been of interest to me for a while, but I first needed to find the perfect partner. In my mind, that was always George Malkemus III [who helped launch Manolo Blahnik in the US].
When I finally worked up the courage to pick up the phone and run the idea by him, I was prepared for him to say no. Instead, he told me to meet him at his office the next morning at 9am. And, just like that, SJP Collection was born.
Would you want to expand your product range to include fashion and accessories?
Absolutely! We’ve already dabbled a bit in apparel and accessories, but we are excited to continue exploring these and other categories and have had many discussions about doing so.
Footwear will always be the bread and butter of our business, but we look forward to continuing to expand.

Tatler Asia
Above Comfort is a key in SJP Collection’s footwear

Where did you draw inspiration from?

Everywhere and everything! New York is my home, and everywhere you turn there is something to be inspired and influenced by.
I love to see how people dress, what choices they make and how they differ from my own. I’m also inspired by art, theatre, architecture, vintage references, colours—the list is endless.

While beautiful, high heels can be uncomfortable; did you consider this when designing your collection?
At SJP Collection, we work extremely hard on the comfort of our shoes. It was non-negotiable from the start. There is a significant amount of padding under the ball of the foot, as that’s the place on the foot that takes the hardest beating.
All the leather and fabrics are from Italy and are purposefully durable yet soft. Our entire collection is an attempt to make one’s foot feel as good as it can while wearing heels. This was important to me after years and years of torturing my feet with uncomfortable shoes.

When building an outfit, do you start with the clothes and then choose your shoes or vice versa?
It depends on the occasion. In my everyday life—dropping the children off at school, grocery shopping, running errands—I slip on whatever is comfortable and nearby.
For events that require me to dress up, there have been times that I’ve really wanted to wear a specific SJP Collection shoe and I’ve picked an outfit accordingly. Other times, the shoe is the final decision.

When did you get your first pair of heels and what were they?
Some of the first designer shoes I bought were from George at a trunk sale back in the mid-eighties in Los Angeles.
I think I bought six pairs from him and paid them off with a credit card over a very long period. Sadly, they were later stolen while I was traveling. I’m still upset about that.

 Do you have a favourite shoe from your collection?
I always say I can’t pick a favourite shoe, and I stand by that.
However, it’s always a thrill to stumble across a beautiful colour or fabric or develop a new silhouette that I think someone in my life might resonate with or cherish.


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