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Sarah Jessica Parker on Shoes, Instagram & Her LA Hangouts

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Images via Nordstrom
Images via Nordstrom

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This Friday, February 28, Sarah Jessica Parker's long-awaited shoe line, SJP, is set to launch exclusively in Nordstrom stores across the country. In anticipation of the Sex in the City star's meet-and-greet at The Grove's Nordstrom on March 6, we sat down with the NY-based style icon to learn everything about her debut kicks (check out the gallery with styles and pricing), her thoughts on social media and why she's secretly obsessed with Los Angeles.

You are eternally Carrie Bradshaw for so many people. Are you comfortable with this role?
"For some, those strong identities can feel burdensome or limiting. For me, we had this extraordinary experience for over a decade, and it's very rare that you do something professionally and creatively that connects like that. To feel resentful of the identification or association would be poor use of my time. I feel really fortunate that I got to tell a story that I love and play a character that I love and work with women who I adore. I think one should feel privileged to have had this experience rather than feel handcuffed to it. I'm very lucky!"

You're forever a fashion icon, too.
"The show allowed me to have this surprising relationship with fashion that I never would have planned and certainly never would have predicted. Fashion doesn't dominate my life, which is why I'm still so excited by it. I'm a mother and an actor first and foremost, so to have the opportunity to borrow a beautiful dress to wear to an event for three hours or to design a shoe collection feels like such a treat. It still feels very special to me to dress up for a special occasion."

Have you enjoyed the process of designing your own shoes?
"Absolutely. It's been a total delight working with [Manolo Blahnik CEO] George Malkemus. We've just finished pre-fall and are already working on spring. Have you seen our Instagram?"

Yup, we love those little countdown notecards.
"It's just me and one other girl, Alicia, running that Instagram account. We take all the pictures ourselves and I answer all questions myself. It's so fun."

So, you're a fan of social media?
"It's all still new to me. I think Instagram is a joyous experience because images are used to tell a story. Imagery is often not controversial or provocative, so this kind of sharing is stimulating and often inspiring. Instagram comes more naturally to me, so I'm beginning to learn how to understand the value and power of it. Twitter still feels a little complex for me; it doesn't come as easily, but I'm learning and starting to pay attention to it."

Before settling on SJP, did you have other names in mind for your line?
"I was really reluctant to use my name in the past because I thought it was egocentric and narcissistic. I avoided it as much as possible. But both Nordstrom and George were so convinced, so I had to defer to that council because they've been doing this for a very long time and I admire the way they run their businesses. I would have probably hemmed and hawed thinking of another name, so I've learned to embrace SJP."

Did your shoe love start before or after SATC?
"When I was little girl, we only got two pairs of shoes a year: one pair at the top of the school year and one pair post-spring break that were more suited to the weather. I always got pair of black patent Mary Janes. That trip to the shoe store was always an adventure to me. We lived in Kenwood, Cincinnati, and it was a good distance from home. Although my mom only let me wear certain shoes, I loved wandering around the store and picking up every single style. I loved smelling them and looking at the stitching."

You must have been stoked when you had the freedom to buy your own.
"Yes! As I got older and earned some money, I would buy shoes more frequently than anything else. I remember meeting George and Manolo Blahnik in the mid-eighties in Los Angeles; it was a rainy day and we went to a trunk show. I bought six pairs of Manolos and paid them off with a credit card for a very long time. Ah, I can tell you about every single pair—I adored them! Sadly, later in life, I was traveling and they were all stolen."

"Yes. The saddest part was that there was a chestnut-colored suede flat that Manolo signed himself. Alas, it's gone now. I've loved shoes for a very long time. Not with the reckless abandonment of Carrie—I would never opt to spend all my money on shoes if I need food—but I do love them and appreciate their craftsmanship. I adored every pair I wore as Carrie Bradshaw."

Your shoes look a bit more practical than Carrie's. Was comfort key when designing them?
"There were pretty much three important things me and George discussed in our first meeting: 1) quality, which included comfort, 2) design and 3) price point. There isn't a day that passes in a design meaning that we're not talking about how the shoe is going to feel. The biggest problem area for women is the ball of the foot, so it was very important for us to pad that portion of the shoe as much as possible. It's a really interesting process to find the right amount of comfort but not overbuild it either. We have some really nice high heels but we also have suede flip flops. We have flat espadrilles, high espadrilles...there's something for everyone."

Do you have a favorite style?
"I can't choose, there are so many. I love the Carrie in purple, the Iva in olive suede, the Etta in charcoal and dusty rose...seriously, I love them all."

We're huge fans of the Alison boot.
"That style has been a huge hit. We're doing the Alison for pre-fall and fall in crazy-beautiful colors—suede too! I so want to share them all on Instagram, but there are all these embargo dates so I'll have to wait."

We'll be waiting with baited breath. So, do you visit Los Angeles often?
"I do, but I still don't know my way around. I really love visiting LA for so many reasons. First, the hotels there feel so special, especially if you're a mother with three kids. Even if I stay at the Peninsula Hotel for one day, it feel likes I've been transported to paradise for two weeks. I have a lot of affection for that place. One of my best friends also lives in LA, as does [SATC writer] Michael Patrick King and [SATC co-star] Kristin Davis, so I love visiting them. You also have a very good public radio station called KCRW. The food in LA is amazing, too!"

We do have some great bites. Any favorite spots?
"You have the best Mexican food and sushi. Every time I'm in LA, I have delicious and wonderful meals. This place in Beverly Hills—La Scala—has the most amazing chopped salads. And Nate 'n Al is my go-to for eggs and smoked salmon. There's also a great coffee shop at the Beverly Hills Hotel."

Great choices. Thanks for your time, SJP!
"Thank you, Racked LA! Tell your readers to come say hello at The Grove on March 6 and to follow our Instagram. I'd love that."
· SJP [Nordstrom]
· Sarah Jessica Parker & Her Shoe Line Are Coming to the Grove [Racked]