Yeah, I know; I should be tied to a tree and pelted mercilessly with rotten eggs. Haven´t we already established that SJP NYC is just another addition to the vast pile of fruity floral bombs that doesn´t need any more editorializing? Well, I just can´t help myself.

When Sarah Jessica Parker released Lovely, her first scent post Sex and the City, I was intrigued. I liked Lovely, but it was very reminiscent of Narciso Rodriguez´s eponymous scent, and I could take it or leave it. For me, the best part about it was the bottle.

Then, I read Chandler Burr´s opus, The Perfect Scent, which described in detail how hands-on SJP was in the creation of her first fragrance. If his account is accurate, Ms. Parker was involved in every aspect from the creation of the juice to its marketing and advertising. Reading that, and knowing she favoured off the beaten path scents – I believe her signature concoction is a blend of West Village street musk oil, Comme des Garà§ons Incense Avignon and Bonne Bell Skin Musk – made me view her creation in a different light.  Lovely is no Britney Spears teeth rotting, Steel Magnolia/cupcake mash-up; and, I have to admit that I admire SJP for putting a bit of her real self out there for the masses to judge. And judge we did.

Her follow-up to Lovely, Covet, and its flanker, Covet Pure Bloom, were not as well received. I happened to like Covet – with its lemony, earthy geranium and chocolate vibe, but Pure Bloom was as vile as a $5 bodega bouquet. Then came The Lovely Collection; a trio of scents named Dawn, Endless and Twilight.

Unfortunately, SJP´s foray into the celebrity scent arena has been hugely disappointing. Lovely is getting harder to find, Covet and Covet Pure Bloom are nowhere to be found, and the Lovely Collection of scents has been banished to the bottom shelves in places like Ulta and Shoppers Drug Mart. It´s interesting that this modern style icon struck out so badly in the scent category, and I think I know why: she attempted to peddle scents that were unappealing to the masses. She took a major brand (Coty) along for the ride, and it didn´t turn out to be the cash cow everyone was expecting; hence her latest offering.

I won´t pretend to have the inside scoop about why SJP NYC is a total departure from her previous scents, but I think I can flesh out the reasons, based on my wealth of inherent cynicism: SJP most likely owed Coty one more go-round on the fragrance ride, and since the latest Sex and the City movie is due to be released next month, they decided to take advantage of the pink elephant in the room, Parker´s alter ego, Carrie Bradshaw. In the interest of not unleashing yet another commercial stink bomb, they decided to tie it in with the film release, and refer to the scent as “something Carrie Bradshaw would wear”. Really? The fictional character who owned every Fendi handbag ever created and made Manolo Blahnik a household name now traipses around Manhattan in 6 inch platform Christian Louboutins smelling for all the world like a strawberry Lip Smacker? Come on! If you believe that, I´ve got a bridge to sell you.

I used to be a huge fan of the series Sex and the City. I own the DVDs. I watch them on occasion, when I find myself missing New York. Growing up in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan in my 20s, I sometimes wish that Carrie Bradshaw´s Manhattan was my Manhattan back in the day. When I worked at 51st Street and 6th Avenue, the coolest thing about it was the Sam Goody store on the ground floor of my building and the TGI Fridays down the street. There was no Today Show studio and the GE building wasn´t referred to as “30 Rock”. Saks Fifth Avenue was just another department store (that none of us could afford to shop in), and Bergdorf Goodman had about half a dozen cosmetic counters on its main floor.  The best lunches could be had at the employee cafeteria in the McGraw Hill building, and after work, we went out for beers and Blue Whales at Houlihans, and scoffed at all the tourists having their pre-theatre dinners.  Not exactly the life of a hip and trendy New Yorker, but I´ve made my peace with it and moved on.

Sadly, the legacy of Sex and the City the series has nothing valuable to offer; unless you happen to consider over-the-top consumerism valuable. However, you can take a Sex and the City Manhattan bus tour that stops at places like Magnolia Bakery and Pastis, where Carrie ate cupcakes and oysters, and of course, the Manolo Blahnik store, where she bought her legendary $400 strappy sandals. The real life struggles of single women in Manhattan all boil down to where you eat, which purse you carry, and who designed your shoes. I know that sounds terribly reductionist, but we all knew someone who wanted to be Carrie, Samantha, Miranda or Charlotte, drank Cosmopolitans and wished for a wealthy investment banker to get down on bended knee and propose.

As for SJP NYC, it really does smell like a strawberry Lip Smacker. That´s not necessarily a bad thing. If it had some grapefruit, it would be Marc Jacobs Daisy.

Will I go see Sex and the City 2? Hell yes… You can take the girl out of New York, but you can never take New York out of the girl.

  • Anne says:

    Where I live (Australia), the three flankers to Lovely have moved to the sale tables and the Covets have just about disappeared. But Lovely is still going very strong indeed. It’s not hard to find and is certainly very prominent among the Mothers Day gift sets that the counters are groaning with at the moment. I like Lovely a lot, but I’m disappointed that somewhere along the line SJP compromised her vision for an edgier scent. These days I layer Lovely with Aesop’s Mystra (a very dark, dirty affair that nicely ruins Lovely’s goody two shoes). I think Lovely will keep going a while yet, but if NYC fails I’d be surprised if SJP comes back for another attempt.

  • Wordbird says:

    I finally managed to track down a bottle of the now discontinued Lovely Collection Twilight and bought it after a remarkable test. Spritzed it on hoping for it to be the infamous layered concoction SJP wears and… after about 30 seconds it was completely gone. Never happened to me before but the whole thing disappeared.

    Then half an hour later it was back and DIRTY! A lovely, rude, dark patchouli-laced musk. I had to buy a bottle just to layer with other things. I’m going to be smelling like I’ve spent the day in bed with the Welsh rugby team!

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  • Winifreida says:

    Ha, I glanced over at one of my bookshelves to see the names Greer, Daly, Friedan, Brownmiller et al standing proud behind a pile of perfume boxes…I mostly forgot to watch S&tC, but did see the movie, and thought, well, I certainly did not think any of those gals were really ‘liberated’!!
    And I suppose Coty is only flogging SJP while there is still a flutter of commercial breath left in her.
    You get the feeling that back in the 30s 40s 50s the Hollywood stars actually went to salons and chose their perfumes and some really fell in love the way we did. Which after reading CB’s book makes me think you are absolutely right in saying that SJP wouldn’t be caught dead in ‘her’ Coty’s!

  • Karen G says:

    I can picture Carrie Bradshaw wearing ELdO Jasmine et Cigarette. Probably because I stopped watching SATC at about the same time as Carrie quit smoking. I don’t smoke, but I liked that Carrie did.

  • janh says:

    Covet lives at Marshall’s now. I stocked up at $9.00 per bottle for the perfume.

  • maggiecat says:

    I was never a fan of the series (I don’t think I’ve ever see a complete episode) but I did love Lovely – it was one of the few scents I’ve bought more than one bottle of, and even now there’s a huge bottle of the body lotion underneath my sink. I still get compliments on this scent, when I wear it (and it’s usually just the body lotion these days). Nothing that’s come out under her name since has been “me” at all…Sigh.

  • Pimpinett says:

    Are there no references to perfume in SatC? Somehow, I’m a little surprised, although maybe it’s a little too esoteric for the format.

    Carrie Bradshaw grates on my nerves. She should wear something cheerfully vulgar, a bit kooky and colourful, but I really picture her as someone who would wear something aspirational, with a prestigious name attached to it. Can’t think of anything that’s a good enough fit, though.

    • Nava says:

      In one of the last episodes of the series, I believe there was a scene in Takashimaya where they were testing fragrances. Other than that, and what I mentioned above in my response to March, there were not many references to fragrance on the show.

  • Shelley says:

    I’m one of those other birds who found neither Carrie nor the show fascinating or fun. I *did*, however, pay slight attention to media coverage of the phenomenon, because a) I remembered SJP when she was cool, playing a smart “dorky” teenager on t.v., and b) the smart “dorky” teenager ended up marrying Ferris Bueller. (A union which had the effect of making MB more interesting, and realizing I didn’t know the slightest about SJP. A typical celeb watch progression.)

    ANYWAY…I have not tried SJP NY. I suppose I should. The one I really want to try is Covet, which sounds intriguing on paper, but I have not heard one person be happy about. So I’ll probably leave myself with some half-formed perception of it without actually ever meeting it. Just like my relationship with SJP herself.

    • Nava says:

      I loved the show “Square Pegs”. And, I believe it was SJP as “Annie” when I saw the show on Broadway.

      I think SATC will forever have a place in the cultural zeitgeist. It’s too early to tell how enduring it will be, but love it or hate it, that show had a tremendous societal influence.

  • March says:

    I so agree with you on this (I’ve got a mini review of SJP NYC buried on the Posse somewhere.)

    Carrie Bradshaw, back in the day or in the present, wouldn’t be caught dead wearing this thing. Strawberry Lipsmacker is a perfect description.

    So let’s play a game — what would Carrie Bradshaw (the original, back in The Day?) have worn? I’m tempted to say a CdG incense, but I think that’s a mental cheat on my part since I know SJP herself likes it. So I’m going with Badgley Mischka. She bought it at Bergdorf from a cute SA. 🙂

    • Nava says:

      It’s funny; I was thinking about asking that question!

      My take is that since she’s so into clothes/shoes/bags, fragrance wouldn’t be her thing. She’d rather splurge on more Manolos than a bottle of fragrance.

      Just to illustrate how much useless info rolls around in my head: I distinctly recall a bottle of Creed Spring Flowers sitting on a dresser in Samantha’s “apartment”. That struck me as contradictory to her character. It should have been a bottle of Opium or Fracas or Fleurissimo. That would have been more fitting than Spring Flower.

      I’m sure there was a lot of product placement jockeying going on in that series, besides the obvious clothes/purses/shoes.

    • Tara says:

      I have often wondered what Carrie would really wear. How about CdG x Steve Jones? Carrie did love hats!!!

    • carter says:

      I’d go with one of the Malles from Barney’s. Lipstick Rose? En Passant? And Kiehl’s Musk.

      • carter says:

        I could also envision her wearing a vintage classic like YSL Paris or L’Interdit. Nothing too serious, something cool and pretty, but absolutely, positively French and fashionable.

    • nozknoz says:

      I think she’d wear Chanel, secretly wishing she could be Catherine Deneuve when she grows up!

  • Mals86 says:

    Awwwww, now, don’t drag poor Daisy into this mess…

    • Nava says:

      No, no! I meant that as a compliment. I Love MJ Daisy! 🙂

      • mals86 says:

        It is lovable in its total innocuousness. I admit that I never smell strawberry in it. And that, for whatever reason, it makes my husband amorous. 😕

  • Musette says:

    I loved NY back before it became NEW YORK! It has always been The Place for me. Great art, great energy, great food, etc. I suspect it will always be thus. S&TC, not so much.

    The real life struggles of real single women in Central IL basically boil down to being 50lbs overweight, with 80s talons, mall-hair, wearing sweats and tank tops that ride up over enormous bellies and flipflops and carrying the most improbable knockoff purses, lurching into the Wal-Mart parking lot in their Crown Vic repo sedans with the 5 kids in back and a Big Gulp in the cup holder.

    Carrie! Hold up! Wait for meeeee! :((

    xo >-)

    and for all you readers who live in Cent IL and do NOT look like that, I ^:)^ to you.

    • Nava says:

      Yikes! I haven’t been to Chi-town in over a decade, and I had no idea it has gotten that bad. When I was last there, everyone looked like a QVC shopper. The times, they do change.

      New York will always be New York, fads and trends notwithstanding.

      • Musette says:

        Noooo! Not Chicago. Chicago is Chicago and is actually not really considered ‘Illinois’. I don’t think they have Wal-Marts in Chicago yet. Bless Chicago. Chicagoans still look like QVC, except for a select group, but we are not going there.

        I live in CENTRAL IL now, hon. South of I-80. In a very rural/weird place. The actual rural people are chick in their rural-ness (that sounds ridiculous but what I mean is they are true to who they are. If you are a farmer and you are wearing Dickies then you are In Fashion).

        These are the mid-sized townsfolk in the midsized town in my area (local Wal-Mart/Farm King/Burger King area). My own little town is too small for anybody to aspire to any sort of fashion statement beyond what they do for a living (Farmer, insurance guy, etc). So in that way, my little town is actually more Fashion Forward than the wannabes with their knockoffs and nails@

        But it is always thus. To thine own self and all that.

        xoxox >-)

      • carter says:

        Yeah, and to tell you the troot I can’t remember a time when New York wasn’t NEW YORK. Since, like, forever…

    • moongrrl says:

      Hahaha! Yeah, there are a lot of people here in Central IL like you describe, Musette. I don’t know how well SJP NYC is selling here in my part of the lands south of I-80, but, since we just got a Rural King, I’d imagine it may very well be flying off Bergner’s shelves.

      Hugs to you! 😡

      • Musette says:

        Yeah, well you may live south of 80 but you definitely aren’t ‘South of 80’, bless you!

        It is intriguing when ‘cool’ doesn’t translate to ‘hip’, though (and I know there are lots of variations on this theme). There are a lot of women in the character Mary Steenburgen plays in ‘the Morgans’ – although not nearly as rangy and gorgeous. But super-cool all the same. How many City banks can boast a woman bank manager who can bring down and field-dress a 10-point buck?

        But Bergners………sigh.

        xoxo >-)

    • maidenbliss says:

      You have thus perfectly described to perfection the little town where I reside. Wal-Mart carts overflowing with moon pies and dingdongs included.=)) ~:>

      • Musette says:

        And folks bigger than the cart?

        xo >-)

        • janh says:

          Ouch. And what is a moon pie? Ive always wondered.

          • Musette says:

            Moon Pies:

            There’s enough sugar, fat and chemicals in one Moon Pie to keep you alive for a month – if it doesn’t kill you outright.

            xoxo >-)

          • janh says:

            Actually , it looks kinda good. I had a deprived childhood–only penny candy that I bought myself and no big Marts to shop at, just regular stores where the people who worked there owned the store. Sounds like Mayberry although it wasnt really.

          • Musette says:

            Me, too. But then I’m old. :”>

            Those little corner stores were magical. I had an after-school job at our little corner store (back in the 8th grade, which was in the Jurassic Era, I believe) – I felt so important, doling out the bubblegum and juju coins. Back then, an 8th grader could sell cigarettes!:o Now I don’t think they even let you look at them.

            xo >-)

        • maidenbliss says:

          Double Snort! Yes! I constantly find myself saying oh, but I’m not originally from here. Thanks for the link so we can gaze fondly upon them. About as far away from Godiva as chocolate can get.
          I agree the townies are much more Fashion Forward than they realize just by virtue of the fact they really are being true to who they are. Dickies! :):d I bought one-it’s a sweatshirt, but I really do like it.~:>~:>it’s for special occasions. Like gun bashes and Ladies Night 50 cents off all specials.<:-p

  • carter says:

    The real life struggles of real single women in Manhattan basically boil down to figuring out how to swing the rent without sharing a one-bedroom apartment with fewer than three other people. And the real life Sarah Jessica Parker has moved out of Manhattan and across the river to Brooklyn, which may help to explain the strawberry Lip Smacker accord, not to mention the most hideous packaging I’ve seen in a very, very long time.

    I’ve got nothing against Brooklyn, which is a very happening place at the moment, but maybe she’s channeling her inner Rosie Perez.

    • Nava says:

      Really? She fled the West Village for Brooklyn? As a born & bred Brooklynite, I’m stunned. Maybe she thinks the paparazzi won’t be able to find her as easily.

      That’s the one reason why I never lived in Manhattan; I didn’t want to have to cram myself into a space the size of a tuna can with at least 3 other people. One of my brother-in-law’s nieces once rented a bona-fide water closet on the upper west side. Now that’s living…

      I didn’t even want to go there with the packaging. It’s even more hideous in person.

      • carter says:

        Well, you know she fled to Brooklyn to live in a huge freaking mansion because Park Slope, Boreum Hill, et al have become Stroller Central and all the truly hip movie-star-couples-with-small-children (Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts, Heath Leger and Michelle Williams, Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany) have decided that more is more.

        I lived in Park Slope for eight years until I was run down on the sidewalk by one too many Bugaboos and fled to Manhattan, where the sense of entitlement is just as great, but the shin injuries are fewer and neurosis is of the adult variety.

        • Nava says:

          Oy, you poor thing! 😡

        • Kate says:

          Lets make a Facebook page on disliking Brooklyn! You know I have my reasons (externalizing a failed relationship) for disliking innocent Brooklyn).

          • carter says:

            Ha, but it seems to me like Brooklyn did you a huge favor ;))

            I do love Brooklyn Heights…beautiful Brooklyn.

          • Kate says:

            Why, yes. True. I should find that drunk guy in the Italian restaurant and thank him!

          • Melissa says:

            Hey, my family still lives there! But not in huge freaking mansions strolling babies down the street in expensive carriages. And they have the accents to prove it.

          • Nava says:

            I’ve grown pretty nostalgic for Brooklyn – because I haven’t lived there in almost 20 years! I think Brooklyn is experiencing a bit of a renaissance, particularly in the areas where the celebrities seem to be migrating. It’s nice in a way because some of those areas were pretty rough years ago. But my fave destinations will always be Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay, and my old neighborhood, East Flatbush. Definitely no freakin’ huge mansions there!

          • RusticDove says:

            Nava – you have made me feel nostalgic too. I am also an ex-Brooklynite, followed by a brief stint livling in a Manhattan loft. Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Sheepshead Bay and Flatbush. But this was decades ago – I am told I wouldn’t recognize any of the old ‘hoods these days. As for this new SJP fragrance – definitely seems to be a business decision above all else. Really is a pity as I do believe that she did have the best intentions for her fragrances.

          • Nava says:

            I think she did, too. Not that I know her from Adam, but she does seem like a “realer” person than your average celebrity.