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Sarah Jessica Parker Launches SJP Footwear Line…. And it’s a Crushing Disappointment

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For months now, I’ve been anticipating the launch of Sarah Jessica Parker’s SJP footwear line, which the Sex and the City star designed in collaboration with Manolo Blahnik’s CEO. As the woman who embodied Carrie Bradshaw, I figured Parker would have a keen understanding of what shoe aficionados find scintillating, that she’d comprehend the way we regard heels as miniature sculptures worthy of their own pedestals (except that they function as our own moving pedestals, turning us into statuesque beauties). Sadly, the SJP footwear line is as colossal a disappointment as Bitten, her now-defunct budget clothing line for Steve & Barry’s, which literally bit the big one in late 2009, less than two years after its launch.

Like the Bitten garments she designed, these shoes feel derivative and mundane. Which is not to say that all the strappy sandals, pumps, and wedges in the line are grotesque or even unattractive — they’re simply unexciting and even pedestrian. We’ve all seen shoes like these before — heck, we’ve seen nicer iterations at Nine West for about $400 less than what these cost! Sure, some vaguely resemble shoes that Carrie Bradshaw wore on the show but, lest we forget, SATC’s final episode aired in 2004, an entire decade ago. In the course of 10 years, we’ve seen every set prop, cocktail, and wardrobe item replicated over and over again: the oversized flower pin, the “Carrie” nameplate necklace, the tutu skirt Carrie wore in the opening sequence, the newsboy hats she wore throughout most of Season 4; and so forth. Even those who still argue about whether they’re a Samantha or a Charlotte will feel bored by these designs. Yes, Sarah Jessica Parker is a celebrity and, given that we live in a society that worships anyone with even the slightest bit of fame, some customers are sure to buy the shoes based on her recognition alone. But, from a purely aesthetic point of view, these shoes are surprisingly unremarkable and completely undeserving of their hefty price tags.

Check out some of the designs below and read my commentary on each style:

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SJP Maud Sandal, $375. Available at Nordstrom.com

Those interwoven leather straps are cute but — ask yourself — how often have you seen this same design element? Even the color scheme is predictable, a Caribbean-flavored combination of colors meant to feel festive but ultimately triggering little more than an ambivalent shrug.sjp-ina-pump

SJP Ina Pump, $355. Available at Nordstrom.com 

Something about these pumps feels very old lady-ish — the shape of the peep toe isn’t particularly sexy, the almond-shaped cut-outs add no sex appeal, and the suede material somehow feels dated.

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SJP Inez Wedge Espadrille, $245. Available at Nordstrom.com

I’ve seen these espadrille wedges a million times — heck,  I’ve seen cuter versions with unexpected leather straps and exciting hardware details. If you walk into a Banana Republic store or a Nine West, chances are you’ll find an espadrille wedge sandal that looks almost identical to this one.

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SJP Etta Pump, $425. Available at Nordstrom.com

That doggone flower!!! I imagine Sarah Jessica Parker intended the oversize rosette atop the almond-shaped toe of the Etta pump to pay homage to Carrie Bradshaw’s beloved flower brooches, but the attempt feels misguided given that fashion has evolved so much since SATC’s debut. By now, we’ve seen oversize rosettes a million times, making these feel like they were beyond tardy to the party.

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SJP Brigitte Sandal, $355. Available at Nordstrom.com

There’s nothing wrong with these shoes — they’re simple but chic — and yet there’s also nothing swoon-worthy about them. The ruby red metallic leather straps are sexy and the undulating detail above the top adds a bit of personality but not necessarily enough to make you do a double-take.

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SJP Carrie T-Strap Pump, $355. Available at Nordstrom.com

Parker named this shoe “Carrie” because she felt the strongest connection to it. Oddly enough, it’s not as reminiscent of the Carrie Bradshaw character as some of the other designs. Why not name it “Sarah”? All that aside, this T-strap pump is charming in its own right but will it ignite fireworks in your heart? Probably not.

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SJP Diana Pump, $365. Available at Nordstrom.com

The Diana pumps are among the nicest shoes in the entire SJP line, but they’re almost an exact replica of the Manolo Blahnik Mary Janes that Carrie Bradshaw saw inside the Vogue accessories closet and salivated over in between drunken giggles. These have a slightly slanted strap but that’s where the differences end. Now, if you always wanted those Blahnik Mary Janes, then you’ll flock to the SJP Diana pumps but, again, we have to give Parker zero points for originality.

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SJP Alison Bootie, $485. Available at Nordstrom.com

The Alison bootie is, admittedly, one of the more original designs in the collection thanks to its open vamp and lace-up construction. That said, it’s strikingly similar to Manolo Blahnik’s take on the classic Timberland construction boots (the high-heeled boots J.Lo wore in the “Jenny from the Block” video and which were subsequently bootlegged by everyone on planet Earth).

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SJP Jill Sandal, $345. Available at Nordstrom.com

So they’re a metallic pink color. What else do these heels have going for them? Anyone?

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SJP Pola Pointy Toe Pump, $365.  Available at Nordstrom.com

The bow adorning the ankle strap makes this pointy-toed pump feel like it’s wearing a tuxedo, and therein lies its charm. But is that detail worth $365? You decide.

sjp-sylvia-mid-heel-grosgrain-ankle-strap-sandal

SJP Silvia Grosgrain Ankle Strap Sandal, $345. Available at Nordstrom.com

I’ve seen this shoe style (albeit with a lower, chunkier heel) being sold to pre-teens who want to wear heels for the very first time. That is all.

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