When the ladies of HBO’s Sex And The City stepped out of their New York City apartments, or even sometimes just lounging around, it was always a fashion statement. Each character had a well-defined sense of style and pushed the envelope of dressing fabulously fiercely, thanks to costume designer Patricia Field. Field passed the costuming baton onto Miami-based costumer Molly Rogers, who actually began her career working with Field on Crime Story, accumulating an impressive list of iconic TV and film credits including Ugly Betty, The Devil Wears Prada, Star, Murphy Brown, and Confessions of A Shopaholic, to name a few. Field and Rogers worked alongside her for a year until the series’ end in 2004.
Rogers proved her worth, winning the Emmy for “Outstanding Costumes for a Series” for season three, which she shared with Field and fellow costume designers Rebecca Weinberg, Artie Hach, Eric Daman, and Mark Agnes. Rogers subsequently styled both films, Sex And The City (2008) and Sex And The City 2 (2010).
Enter Danny Santiago, a visionary in the Miami fashion scene during the ’80s and early ’90s whose celebrity clientele boasts Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Lenny Kravitz, Ricky Martin, Madonna, and Janet Jackson. His television credits included styling for Burn Notice, Graceland, and Ballers. Field was the common denominator between Rogers and Santiago, bringing them together for the Sex And The City movies, where they received co-costume designer credit. They’ve since maintained a fashion partnership with And Just Like That, now in its second season on MAX.
In season two, we find Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda Hobbs (Cynthia Nixon), and Charlotte Yorke (Kristin Davis) joined by Seema Patel (Sarita Choudhury) and Lisa Todd Wexley (Nicole Ari Parker)—women of a certain age, shall we say—still strutting their stuff in fabulous designer digs. Rogers and Santiago talked about how age is not a factor when it comes to fashion, especially for these beloved characters who continue to be trendsetters—case in point, the pigeon bag that Carrie wears. Rogers also weighs in on Kim Cattrall reprising her role as Samantha Jones on the condition that Field return to design her wardrobe, an irony that was certainly not lost on Rogers.
Below The Line spoke with Danny Santiago and Molly Rogers via Zoom video from their subsequent homes in Florida. They were eager to discuss their collaboration on the second season of And Just Like That…, discovering designers behind the one-of-a-kind getups, handbags, and hats.
[Note: This interview has been edited for clarity and length]
Below The Line: How’d you both first meet?
Danny Santiago: Actually, I met Molly through Pat. I’d known Pat since the late ’80s. I had met her and known of her store. Then Pat got a place down here in Miami in the early ’90s and Molly was coming down to spend time with Pat and we all sort of met up here. It was all more like the whole club social scene of Miami Beach at that time that was going on.
BTL: When you say Pat, I’m assuming you mean Patricia Field. It’s interesting because that’s the reason why Kim Cattrall came back because Pat said she would design her costumes. Do you know that story?
Molly Rogers: I know it all too well. I know lots of versions of it. I also think it’s extremely rude and low-brow of Kim to make one of the conditions a part of it, because for me, that signaled to me that she thought my department was less than. For me, it wasn’t about loyalty or anything. It’s not like Kim didn’t know me for years. It’s like one of the rudest things anyone has ever done. For me, it was a snub. We had nothing to do with it. Right, Danny?
Danny Santiago: I’m in agreement with that. We didn’t really have anything to do with that. That was something she decided. We all worked together, and Molly, of course, worked with Pat for all those years and knew Kim very well. I met Kim when the movies came up, and I started working with Molly and Pat on the movies. So, we were all very familiar with each other.
BTL: Well, I have to tell you these styles are fabulous. There’s no teal difference I feel between what Pat did and what you guys are doing. You’re sort of going along the same vibe.
Rogers: Yeah, Pat passed the baton, and she has full confidence in us, and the executive producers were thrilled that I was available and wanted to come back and that Danny could come. I just think it’s poor sportsmanship on Kim’s part, that’s all. We had a great time on that show. It was actually sad. I’m a crew person. This is my livelihood. It’s wrong.
BTL: Okay, thank you for sharing your point of view. Let’s move on. Talk about the inspiration for the animal prints that are in this season and what inspired that.
Rogers: [giggles] That’s what people have been saying: What about all the animal prints? And they’ve been saying, “What about all the plaids?” I try to be careful because I do love a leopard. I do love the animal on Seema (Sarita Choudhury), and that character is our panther. I try to hold myself back. I always say to Danny, “Is she wearing back-to-back animal looks?” No. We did one in one episode and one in another. It’s fun.
Santiago: For Seema, it’s fitting with her character. Since we play with her with so many neutrals, and that’s sort of her color palette, we keep her very much in these neutral tones. I think the animal print works within that, if you know what I mean. It’s her world, and we’ve made that her thing that if she’s going to wear a pattern, you know, she’s not a floral girl. You’re never going to see her in bright, color-block colors. That was something that we determined from the beginning with her, when we saw that her car was going to be chocolate brown. We came up with the idea that it would be great to keep her in all those beautiful neutrals, bronzes, and metal colors, and animal print just fits so perfectly with all of that.
BTL: So let’s break it down for each character. How did Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw evolve this season?
Rogers: She has come back into her social self. In season one, with the funeral, when you lose someone and someone dies, you have a process that you have to go through, anyone, even Carrie. I think she reaches out to people who are in her sphere to start getting out again.
Santiago: She’s healing, and she’s going through a process, but she’s out there a lot more with the girls. Carrie’s starting to date., so I think for her, she’s out to have fun and to dress up again and play with fashion and colors. She goes shopping and buys all those amazing shoes. She’s out to just enjoy herself, enjoy her style, and experiment as Carrie does. She dresses for herself. She’s out to put on something, but it’s what makes her feel good. That’s how she has fun.
BTL: One of the fun fashions is the pigeon bag that Carrie wears in the scene with Charlotte. Where did you get that?
Rogers: [laughs] A friend of ours was on vacation in Italy. He’s the documentarian who filmed the behind-the-scenes footage last season and did such an incredible job. He’s a friend of Sarah Jessica’s, and he sent me a picture of himself on vacation, and he was carrying the pigeon purse! It was like, “What is that? I have to get one.” That is a Carrie moment if I’ve ever seen one. She had been carrying the Eiffel Tower for years, representing Paris. I had always looked for something that would represent New York in a really cool way. I had looked at tons of apple bags. Nothing was as great as that crystal-clear Eiffel Tower. When we saw that pigeon and handed it to Sarah Jessica, she was like, “Goodie. This is a good one.” She did such a great job in that scene, in the resale shop, handling that prop. She hit the comic timing. The minute she takes the gum out of the wing, she knows how to work it. It was so fun to watch that scene when it’s on her head.
BTL: Who actually designe that bag?
Rogers: It’s a JW Anderson purse. It came down the runway in the men’s show. I told her it could have been a rat. That’s a popular thing on New Yorkers lips these days: the takeover of the rodent. But this pigeon in person is colored so beautifully, Robin. It’s really pretty.
BTL: Oh, cool. Have people asked where they can get one?
Rogers: I think there’s still a waiting list.
BTL: That’s great. What about her hats this year especially the one she wore for the MET Gala?
Rogers: Danny and I are huge hat fans. I have so many pictures of Danny in storage spaces, attics, resale shops, thrift stores, and basements, trying the hat on and making sure that it’s worthy.
Santiago: We love a hat. I don’t know if you saw the documentary And Just Like That… The Documentary last year, but there was a little fight going on about a hat that was going to be used for an outfit in the scenes that were being shot in Paris last year. And that hat was something that we featured. It was the first hat that she’s wearing in the first episode of season two, as she’s walking down the street with Charlotte. We got to put that hat in, and I think for a lot of people, it was a nice little Easter egg for people that had seen the documentary, and they could put two and two together that that was the hat, and it finally made it on camera.
BTL: Who designed that hat?
Santiago: It’s a vintage hat that Molly found in Paris, and it’s probably from like the 1940s.
Rogers: Yeah, it’s an old one. But the Met Gala hat for Carrie was the original Bluebird that was worn in the movie in the jilted at the altar scene. We just crystaled a small piece of one of the original veils that Sarah Jessica had in her archive. Not the original. We put a different one in there. That was all pretty much original in what she wore because the Met Gala theme was “Veiled Beauty.”
BTL: So let’s talk about Miranda. She seems to have stepped it up a little bit in her fashion sense. Do you agree?
Rogers: Danny and I talk about this before Cynthia (Nixon) comes into her fittings, you know? Cynthia’s character is searching. It’s almost a midlife crisis. She changed her hair color back. She’s no longer a corporate lawyer. She’s going back to school. She’s embracing change; she’s adventurous. She’s even way out there, actually on a limb, sometimes trying new things. I think her wardrobe has definitely become more relaxed, but it’s kind of all over the place, a little bit like her life is; it’s a bit chaotic right now.
Santiago: She’s always been one who wears colors so well, with her hair color and stuff. It’s a lot of fun to use all these beautiful colors that work so well with their hair color, So that’s always been something that we’ve loved and something that Molly has always done before from the (Sex And The City) series. She’s also on the west coast, which also incorporates a little bit of a style change. So she’s really discovering herself, trying to find out who she is, I feel like.
BTL: I also feel that Nicole Ari Parker as Lisa Todd Wexley is killing it this season. She probably looks great in everything.
Santiago: [laughs] She does. It was just a continuation of her season. When we were given notes on her before we knew who the actress was going to be, we were told that she’s someone who’s on the international best-dressed list. We started thinking about, “Well, who is that woman? Who is somebody that we would see and think would be on an international best-dressed list?”
I think most people would’ve thought that’s somebody who’s going to be maybe in like a head-to-toe designer look, and that’s something that Molly and I weren’t feeling. We feel that somebody who’s at that level with style, you don’t necessarily know who they’re wearing, although they are wearing designers and luxury clothing, but they have sort of their own way of doing it. Maybe it’s custom-made. They have their own twist on how they carry their clothes and how they accessorize their outfits. You know, LTW is someone who loves to wear bold color and bold accessories, and we have a lot of fun putting those types of things together with her.
Rogers: She can handle it. At the end of season one, in her fittings, I noticed she was adding more rings. She was starting to gloss over things. It’s fun to dress her.
BTL: What about the lingerie montage? Talk about designing that.
Rogers: Ooh, that was exciting because we knew the song (Elton John and Britney Spears‘ “Hold Me Closer”). I just loved the tone of it. It was a great opportunity. Every one of those women needed to be in their style lane immediately. So, that was really fun to say, “You’re the one in the sweatshirt in high heels, Carrie. And Charlotte, you’re the one in the sexy black nightgown.” When Danny and I were at an outlet mall down here in Florida, we found this amazing Tom Ford robe that was so bold and fearless that it was going to go on LTW. Seema’s in the gold. But that was really fun to art direct.
BTL: What about that red onesie that LTW wears under the Met Gala dress?
Rogers: Can you imagine knowing that you’re going to be in something like that, and it’s in high definition? I mean, it’s amazing [laughs]. She is in a really good place. That is daunting for anyone. She looked great.
BTL: All the women in the show are of a certain age and they’re still rocking it. I mean, that’s the whole point of this series, I feel.
Rogers: Sarah Jessica really tried to double down on that and address it in season one: ageism. There was a whole episode about when she was going to have a facelift. She did a real close-up in that episode of all of her natural wrinkles. It’s, like, I want to celebrate my mother. I’m glad I have my mother at her age. It’s a celebration, isn’t it?
I think just the other day, Sarah Jessica was like, “I’m not going to crawl up, go in a corner, and die because I’m over 50.” I’m not even going to talk about men and ageism because no one ever says anything about male actors and their appearance. We all know that. I hear this a lot from older women saying, “This is the best phase of my life, more than when I was in college, more than when I had my kids. I feel so good about me.” I’m beginning to believe that it’s true.
BTL: What about you, Danny? How do you feel about age and fashion?
Santiago: I think it’s great that we can show women of this age that they are out and about, living their lives, having fun, and enjoying their lives. These women are out to explore. They’re still living. They’re not huddled down at home and taking a backseat to things out there. They’re enjoying life, and they’re showing how they can be mothers and how they can be women who have jobs and professional lives. They’re all out there, and they’re all experiencing new things. Life doesn’t end in your mid-to-late fifties. You keep going, and that’s a great thing that we’re able to show about these women. They embrace themselves, their bodies, and who they are.
BTL: When you’re in the fittings, what kind of input do you get from the actress in terms of what they like to wear or what they feel works for them, if at all?
Rogers: It’s very collaborative. Some of the fittings are long because we take great care. Danny and I were discussing this the other day. You styled it pretty quickly. The longest thing is to sit there and wait for it to be pinned out. That takes forever, and you have to just be patient and let the tailor have their time. Sometimes Kristin (Davis) will pick a shoe that overrides the shoe I pick because it’s a better choice, and I’d never not admit that. We all want the best thing possible on the screen. They all want to participate. Not so much the men. Their fittings are still fun. They know how to put on a nice suit. They’re so much easier. We’re really trying to reach, heighten, and peacock most of the women, so it takes a little more of a thought process to make sure you hit the right notes. For example, here’s the perfect note: Robin. Sarah and Jessica carried that pigeon purse with their flight suits. It goes together on a cute little level; it’s very Sex In The City, that little moment if people catch it.
BTL: Nobody could pull that off but SJP. You guys must get inundated with designers and shoe people and bag people hawking their styles to you.
Santiago: We have our favorites, and we have such great friends in all these different design houses, showrooms, and stuff that love to lend us things because we can’t afford to have them otherwise. We don’t have crazy budgets like people think, and we’re not out buying $5,000 handbags because we can’t. So if it weren’t for the connections that we’ve had and that we’ve made with all these wonderful showrooms and designers, they’d love to give us things to hold onto, and they’re so nice to let us hold onto them for the length of time that we do. We pull in everyone and Of course, somebody will suggest or reach out to us, whether it’s a new designer or somebody that we haven’t known. Or we’ll find somebody on Instagram, or we’ll get an email, and we’re always open to looking to see what people will have because you never know what you’re going to find. It’s a constant search, but people love to connect with us because they know the exposure that they’re going to get from being a part of this and all. So we couldn’t have done it with everybody if they hadn’t loaned us these things and helped us out. We love to look at things, and we love to look for new people and be able to expose new designers.
BTL: So who are some of your favorite finds this season, would you say?
Santiago: The jewelry designer that Lisette (Katerina Tannenbaum) is wearing is supposed to be the collection that Lisette designs. It’s from a New York-based, young, new jewelry designer by the name of Ishi, which is the name of the collection. That was something that we discovered. We were able to show the collection there in the jewelry show scene, and Lisette wore some of the pieces in the collection as well. That was great to show a very small designer just starting out, and we were able to give them that exposure.
Rogers: I met some really cool transplanted New York guys that have moved to Marrakesh. I met them on Instagram, and they have these very, very old looms, like 20 old looms, and they hire local Moroccans to make these beautiful caftans. We developed a relationship, and there’s an episode coming up where Carrie’s not wearing it in bed or out of the shower. She’s on the street in one, and it’s this just beautiful chevron of greens and blues and aquas and turquoises. I am hopeful that they will meet a lot more people because she’s wearing it and because it’s such a great factory that they’ve set up over there. They’ve been there for over six years. It was fun to establish a relationship with them.
BTL: Let’s talk about the guys. You’ve got Oliver Hudson, and then we’ve got John Corbett coming back. So what’s it like designing for those guys?
Rogers: I think John is super concerned because I think he realizes the expectation of the audience that he’s coming back into her life. He was very attentive to what looks he was going to have because he’s in a different phase of his life, and he just kept saying, “I want to look very at ease and comfortable.” He really didn’t want any labels, just nicely made things where he could fall back into her life, real comfortable and real natural. But you are forgetting one of the most handsome men, Chris Jackson, who plays LTW’s husband, Herbert Wexley. We all have crushes on him, right, Danny?
Santiago: He’s so much fun when he comes in for his fittings and stuff. We get to dress him in these beautiful suits, mostly Tom Ford suits. We have them tailored to him perfectly, and he carries them so well when he gets dressed. He’s so statuesque, and he looks amazing. He’s a peacock. He loves to get dressed up, and he loves to see the new ties and the new shoes that we’ll have for him and all these beautiful new textures and stuff like that.
Rogers: Mario Cantone is a laugh riot. He’s like Willie Garson (Stanford Blatch) was, just laughing in his fitting, gossiping, taking clothes home, and wearing his outfit home. Everybody’s screaming at him. He’s so much fun. He’s like a tornado. Oliver needed a West Coast uniform, right? A jean shirt, a black jean
Santiago: That whole thing about him having a ring on each finger was something that was scripted to us by MPK (writer/creator Michael Patrick King) and was part of his character, which leads into the whole line about him being a hairdresser in Beverly Hills and all that sort of stuff. That plays into a little nod to the Shampoo moment.
BTL: At the end of the day, what’s most rewarding working on the series?
Santiago: We always say it’s such a unicorn working on this show because no other show exists that has so many eyes on us, but the fact that we can be creative with all these different types of characters. We’re not just dressing one type of person. It’s not like we’re doing a prison show or a lawyer show. We can really create people, give them a very distinctive look, and build these characters that we love so much. We love that other people see it and love these characters as well. People are always wanting to know more about fashion, style, and what they’re wearing, and we get to do that and have everyone see it. It’s an amazing experience for me.
Rogers: I have to pinch myself because I remember walking out of (production studio) Silver Cup Studios after the sixth season was over and we had wrapped it, and I was like, “Well, that’s the end of that. What a great six years!” It’s so exciting to be in the eye of the hurricane, fashion-wise. I even sent out thank-you cards to showrooms that said, “Rest in peace, Carrie.” Of course, it had a Louis Vuitton casket! But then you get a script about a wedding, and it’s a movie. It’s so unusual to be on something that has this longevity. I’m grateful. And just like that, you get another script. I could go all the way to Golden Girls; it’s fine with me! I think that would be even better.
And Just Like That… season two is now available to stream on MAX.