If you had walked into Sarah Jessica Parker's home in Manhattan the Wednesday before Valentine's Day, you'd have had no clue that she is introducing a women's shoe collection this spring, or that she ever played the stiletto-loving fashionista Carrie Bradshaw on "Sex and the City."
"The entire front foyer is covered, with probably 6 inches to walk between the canyon of boots, my children's, everyone's," she said over the phone. "It's just boots and water and salt marks right now."
Parker's greatest fame came playing the stiletto-obsessed Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex and the City." But on this afternoon, Parker is wearing slippers as she speaks, bundled in two shirts, a long sweater and leggings, "because for some reason we don't have heat, and, oh my God, the poor dogs and my husband (Matthew Broderick) are freezing. I suppose I could put some socks on."
But she doesn't do socks. Plus:
"Soon I'll have to get dressed for my son's piano recital and then I'm hosting a book-release party for a friend, Tovah Klein, who runs the Barnard Toddler Center ... all of my kids went there," she said. "So I'll have to put on proper clothes eventually."
With the Carrie or Fawn pumps from her new SJP collection?
No. "Boots," she said.
Winter 2014 has not exactly given a warm welcome to Parker's new baby, birthed in partnership with Manolo Blahnik CEO George Malkemus. The SJP collection consists of 25 styles of pumps, sandals and espadrilles in springy colors, plus three handbags and a trench coat. It launches exclusively at 25 Nordstrom stores nationwide and nordstrom.com on Feb. 28.
Parker is hoping for a thaw before her appearance at Nordstrom Michigan Avenue on March 7, where she will present the SJP line, wear a pair and sign customers' SJP purchases from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.
For this conversation, an edited transcript of which follows, slippers will have to do.
Q: Life has changed, your family has grown, since "Sex and the City." Has your sense of style evolved?
A: I'm more inclined, if I shop, which is extremely rare, to buy for the long term. I tend to be less trend-influenced than I was in my youth, and certainly Carrie had a deeper-rooted affection for fashion that played out in her daily life. Because I have children, that isn't always the case for me. I have the privilege of dressing up for events, then I come back home and get tossed into the reality of being a working mother and these stacks of snow and ice, and trying to get kids to school and being appropriately dressed for the walk.
Q: What do you wear to walk your son (age 11) and twin daughters (age 4) to school?
A: Long johns — Hanes waffle knit, the same ones I've had for 20 years. As my husband says, respect the weather. So I have a lot of practical things in my closet. I layer, that's the big thing you Chicago people know. I wear a vest or a shell underneath a parka — I love a parka — one that's below the knee but has a double zipper, so I can zip off the bottom and still have a waist. It gives me more range. I'm frugal but sometimes I will pay to have a double zipper put on a coat.
I was in Norway last year for the Nobel Prize concert, and while I was there, I met these two lovely women who design this line of parkas called Fleischer Couture; they were kind enough to leave one for me at my hotel. A parka from Oslo, it's warm. They know. They know parkas.
Q: And the shoes for the walk?
A: Foolishly, I wear high-tops a lot. I don't wear socks, which no one can quite get over. I'm so short (5 feet 3 inches tall) that I think if I always have some skin showing, perhaps it will convince people that I'm taller.
Q: You seem busier than ever. You just finished an off-Broadway play with Blythe Danner. You run a production company. You trudge with your twin daughters and son to school. Do you have any tricks for how you segue from one role to another?
A: I don't really have a great method, I just try to make it happen. The family comes first, then I try to work things that are interesting to me, outside the home, around the needs of my children. I don't complain about being tired because it's such a rare position to be in. I know how hard my mother had to work to try to pull things together, and I know lots of people who are struggling. So when I talk about being busy, I know I'm a very lucky person, to have the choices and resources that I do.
Q: SJP shoes aren't inexpensive, but they aren't astronomical either. What went into that calculus?