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Hot couture on 'Sex and the City' film

You don't have to be from New York City to be jealous of Carrie Bradshaw when she walks into her dream apartment in the new "Sex and the City" film. It's a penthouse overlooking Central Park, a present from Mr. Big, who writes the check on the spot and offers to build her dream closet.

Grrr . . .

What's more, Carrie looks perfect in a green leafy-print lady coat worn with a floral dress, a wide studded belt, Dior gladiator sandals and a Timmy Woods Eiffel Tower purse.

Four years after we left them, the rest of the gang is just as blissfully happy and well dressed. Samantha is in Malibu wearing an estate ring bought by Smith, and Charlotte is a stay-at-home mom on Park Avenue in Oscar de la Renta. The most independent of the bunch, Miranda, has a killer pad in now-gentrified Brooklyn and a newly chic wardrobe. Think oversized earrings and slinky geometric-print dresses.

Where are the everywomen we knew and loved who scored shoes at sample sales and conspired to beat the waiting list for an Hermès Birkin? They've turned into rich bitches, clothed and cared for by men!

Stylist Patricia Field, who did the costumes for the series and the film, which opens Friday, helped make Jimmy Choo a household name and Fendi baguettes a sensation. But more than that, there was something about the look of the show that made us feel like we could imitate it, even if we didn't have the unlimited budget of a newspaper columnist. (Ha!)

As the trends trickled down, you could find nameplate necklaces, flower pins and newsboy caps at Barneys but also at the mall or, if you had a keen eye, at a thrift store. It wasn't about how much the pieces cost, it was about how you wore them.

More than fashion, the show was about personal style. The way Carrie wore a polka-dot belt over her bare midriff, paired a $5 tutu with a T-shirt or sported a pink furry hat for a romantic carriage ride, she had a sense of fun about how she dressed for every occasion.

Only in the final two episodes, with high-end designer parades of Versace and Lanvin, did things start to look like fashion as usual. Of course, by then, the fashion industry was dying to get things placed on the show.

In the film, there's a nod to Carrie's signature flower pin -- a dress with an overgrown flower on the shoulder. Carrie also reprises her socks-and-sandals look with over-the-knee argyles. And Samantha's 1980s-era Thierry Mugler jackets are powerfully sexy. (Could shoulder pads really make a comeback?) But these unexpected style moments are too few and far between.

More often, the clothes seem to be runway looks from the spring collections of Proenza Schouler and Alexander McQueen, the same clothes we've been seeing in fashion editorials for months.

Miles away from her fashion road-kill moment in the series, Carrie models couture bridal gowns for a Vogue magazine shoot in the film, each designer diligently noted for moviegoers. In one-of-a-kind clothes that cost tens of thousands of dollars, she couldn't be further from the Carrie we fell in love with, the one who channeled the coming-of-age dating and career woes of an entire postfeminist generation.

As the plot thickens, it's not all roses and Manolos for Carrie. In her darkest moments, you almost wish the Carrie necklace would reappear. Eventually, she finds herself -- and her personal style -- again. The most telling moment may be when she rejects Vivienne Westwood couture for a no-name vintage find. The message? Sometimes the best label is your own.

booth.moore@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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