“Carrie Bradshaw” loved to buy expensive shoes. Sarah Jessica Parker, not so much. 

“Carrie Bradshaw” loved to buy expensive shoes, but the actress who played her? Not so much.

Sarah Jessica Parker, contrary to what you may think, is not a shoe horse. And she doesn’t even like to shop!

But the “Sex and the City” star now in the HBO series “Divorce” does like the smell of leather, and the shoe business that bears her initials she says was inspired by the “fevered relationship” many of her fans who watched her iconic cable series had with footwear, inspired in turn by the fictional Carrie Bradshaw.

So Parker, whose product has been available online and at stores like Nordstrom’s, and at Bloomingdale’s in New York, has now opened her first standalone shoes-and-accessories boutique at MGM National Harbor, a new casino resort overlooking the Potomac River seven miles downriver from Washington, D.C.  She plans to be there as much as possible – stocking shelves, meeting customers — before filming starts on the second season of her HBO show “Divorce” in February.

She may not be a shoe horse, but oh how she loves to talk about them. This she did in a chatty half-hour phone conversation as she prepared to travel to the $1.4 billion casino and entertainment resort, whose attractions also include celebrity-chef restaurants, a high-end spa and salon, a casino with more than 3,300 slot machines; table games and poker tables; a 3000-seat theater; and a 308-room hotel.

For this writer, a breezy relaxed chat with this extraordinarily normal superstar was a welcome break from the hard news reporting and deep institutional context I shared with readers in my New York Times story this week about MGM National Harbor.  http://nyti.ms/2gz5yi7

“Hi, this is Sarah Jessica,” a friendly voice said when I answered my phone at the appointed time.

In all of this glitzy grandeur, Parker hopes to have hit a “sweet spot” in the market – not cheap but not the most expensive shoes, either, with prices ranges from $250 to $495. She rejected suggestions she buy shoes made in China and opted instead for those produced by third-generation Italian shoemakers.

For her, it all began with family trips to an old-fashioned suburban Cincinnati shoe store that traded mainly in Stride Right and Buster Brown. Boring? Yes. But standard brands for mid-20th century middle-class American tastes.

One of eight children, she wore a lot of hand-me-downs, but buying shoes twice a year was “really a big deal growing up,” she tells me. “At the end of summer before school began, we drove to an old shore store in Kenwood. It was an air-conditioned space, such a luxury. It smelled like leather. I’d wait while other siblings were being fitted for shoes.”

It was there she developed “a great affection for shoes.” Still, “I don’t have a fevered relationship with shoes. I love beautiful well-made shoes and am able to borrow as an actor old worn shoes and shoes off the runway. People sometimes expect I’m a mad shopper. But I’ve never been someone who shops a lot. I don’t indulge in that way, because as an actor I get to wear a lot of things and have the experience.”

Her shoes and accessories have been available at Bloomingdale’s in New York for about a year and a half. There, she says, she “works the floor a lot, for two-three-four hours selling shoes. The more time you spend with a customer, the more you learn from him and her what is working and what is not. We don’t have big marketing dollars. I learned the best way to promote the brand is to be constantly in touch with the customer.”

So there you have it: Sarah Jessica Parker, not merely a cable character to love or hate but a real person whose  off-stage enthusiasm can be catching. “Be well” were her closing words. Well said, SJP. And to you as well.



  1. Betty Bennett Lowe on February 2, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    I had no idea that being a shoe freak was shared by most of the women I know. I’d be ashamed to tell anyone how many shoes I own! I watch the CBS morning show with Charlie Rose, Nora O’Donnell and Gale Evans. I look longingly at her huge collection of shoes every day. They are gorgeous. I’m sure if I wore even one pair of her high heels, I’d fall off them and hurt something.

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