On the list of powerful female fashion icons of our time, Patricia Field has to be close to the top. The red haired style maverick is best known for her work as a stylist on Sex and the City: her creative vision brought Carrie Bradshaw to life, inspiring the outfits of millions of people around the globe. However this taste maker and fashion extraordinaire is so much more than just a stylist – her designs fuse fashion with art, creating truly unique and eye catching statement pieces.
When she announced her plans to close her world famous New York boutique last year, the world was left in shock. But luckily, she is now selling her latest collection on YEAY. We caught up to discuss wardrobe tips and how to start your career in the world of fashion.
Interview by Jayne Phillips & Celine Douet
How would you describe your personal style?
I would describe my personal style as narrative, individual and original. I stay away from trends, as I make my selections based on my self as an individual. This works well for me because I do not change my personality with the seasons. In the end, my closet is filled with items that I have had for many years and hold up with time.
Where do you find inspiration for new designs?
I derive much of my inspiration from the world around me, and the youth culture that I have been deeply associated with throughout my career. Mixed in this recipe, is the zeitgeist of our times, including social, cultural and political themes.
Have you always been fascinated by fashion? What sparked this interest?
Fashion always came naturally to me. When I finished my university studies, I used the knowledge of business that I learned from my family of entrepreneurs to pursue a career in fashion. I didn’t base my decision on a fascination with fashion. Rather, it was a means of achieving my main goal, which was to be an independent entrepreneur and fashion was the most logical way to achieve that.
What are 3 essential style items you can’t live without?
To be honest, I can continue living with or without any items.
What’s your favourite item from your collection?
There are many favourites, but I will mention a modern, simple and elegant gown, designed by Carmel Johnson in the 1980s. Whenever I wear it, many people ask me about it and where they can obtain one. Unfortunately, Carmel is not working in that vein these days, so it is more of a one-of-a-kind piece, which has served me more than gloriously in my life.
What was it like working on Sex and The City – do you have any exciting stories to share?
To be brief, Sex and The City, was a six year experience and then the two movies added on. Working on this highly successful project was an experience of a lifetime, and I most enjoyed the reaction of our viewers and fans, who are to this day still contacting me about all aspects of the show and living through their experiences of watching the show.
Who would you love to style, that you haven’t so far in your career?
I would enjoy styling Michelle Obama. I feel that she looks very good, as she looks real. I might be able to help her with a few details.
What would be your advice for young women preparing for a career in fashion?
My advice for people preparing for any career, including fashion, is:
- Do what you intrinsically love. Do not think of secondary benefits. The benefits will follow.
- Do what is easy for you. You will be competing with others. If it is not easy for you, you will be at a disadvantage. If it is easy for you, you can apply yourself and will succeed. Be honest with yourself about this.
- Be positive with all of your associates. Being liked is very important in all career areas.
What is your favourite memory of working in the fashion world?
I have been in the fashion world for so many years and have many favourite memories. It is very hard to isolate a special one. Included among these memories, of course, is the tremendous experience of Sex and The City, as well as The Devil Wears Prada. In addition, having my own shop all these years, and being my own boss, has a very high value to me, regarding the success of my career. I highly enjoyed the face-to-face relationships with my clients. I label it “the truth of retail” as opposed to the politically correct posture of many industries. If the client likes it, she leaves her cash on your counter. It’s that simple. If she enjoys her selection, she will return.
What big changes do you think are on the horizon for the fashion world?
The fashion world needs to update its techniques of production. This includes the partial side-stepping of the sewing machine, which is a means of production left over from the industrial revolution. One example of future construction, would be molding garments. Molding is much more up to date, and much more efficient. This would solve the problem of high priced fashion, which is plaguing the fashion industry these days. Exporting production is not the answer. Devising modern techniques is the answer. If you can mold a chair, you can mold a garment.