The Surprising Fashion Tips Kim Cattrall Learnt From Samantha Jones
It’s not every day that you get the chance to meet one of your on-screen heroes. So when the opportunity to interview Kim Cattrall arose, I jumped into an Uber faster than you can say Smith Jerrod.
Cattrall is in Australia to launch this year’s Spectacle Wearer of the Year competition, presented by Specsavers. A proud glasses wearer since the age of 10, the Golden Globe winning and Emmy Award nominated actress has been styling-up her look with a chic pair of specs since she was a child. “I love glasses. They’re not just a functional part of my life, they’re really an expression of how I’m feeling,” she says.
The British-born, Canadian-raised, New Yorker is most famous for her role as the feisty and fearless Samantha Jones in Sex and the City. Like her character, Cattrall is no stranger to a bold fashion statement—which is certainly evident today as she arrives for our interview wearing fierce Stella McCartney trousers and a cool pair of Karl Lagerfeld glasses with a red wine-coloured frame. “Something I definitely learnt from Sex and the City … through playing my character Samantha, is to have more courage in every day,” she confesses.
Here at Who What Wear Australia, binge watching Sex and the City is a rite of passage. We’ve laughed, cried and screamed at the TV screen as Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha taught us the meaning of friendship, fashion, and how we should always have our friends’ backs way before Kendall and Gigi gave us #squadgoals.
Keep scrolling to read our interview with the inspiring, gracious and genuinely down to earth, Kim Cattrall.
Who What Wear Australia: What has inspired your choice of spectacles over the years?
Kim Cattrall: A lot of the time I was mimicking my heroes or characters I was playing. In the ’70s, in high school, I had the John Lennon glasses, and then I had the big, Janis Joplin glasses. But I love glasses. I like letting my imagination be part of my decision as well. Today, I paired this [outfit] with these glasses, which are Karl Lagerfeld. I love their colour against the Stella McCartney pants. I just thought, that’s a really nice counterpoint to it, and it brings warmth to my face and I have like this green, coolish colour [in the pants], but I have warmth up here.
WWW: Was there a particular moment or age when you found your style?
KC: I didn’t start to really know what looked right for me and represented me until I got into my 30s. I stopped listening to what people said I should wear and started making my own choices, I became more comfortable trying something new.
Then Sex and the City happened, which was of course another education in being incredibly bold and making a statement.
WWW: Were you influenced by Samantha’s style?
KS: I was influenced by it, but I wasn’t always dragged into what Samantha would wear—even though when I did show up at an event wearing something less bold [than Samantha would wear], I would get criticised for it. Which I always found weird. They’d say things like: ‘Not looking her usual sexy self’, and I’d think, well, what’s that about, you know? But I think you get so associated with a character that when you step outside of it, even in a subtle way, people have an opinion.
WWW: Do you have any memorable accessories moments from Sex and the City?
KS: I came in one day with new glasses on for a read though—and the writers would always take things from our personal lives and put them in the scripts—then a week later I read the script and Samantha’s got glasses on! Then they told me, to counteract that, she’s going to have herself photographed nude, wearing nothing but her glasses. And I was like, ‘Is she really, fantastic...’ Which is what we did, and it was fun. [Laughs and mimics Samantha] ‘I’m fabulous and wearing glasses!’
WWW: Do you have any favourite outfits that you wore on SATC? Did you keep anything from the show?
KC: Oh yes, so many! Oh boy. I loved the really fun Nicole Miller dress I wore when I came down the fireman’s pole, that was a fun outfit. And there was a blue coat that went with it that was really furry and that was fun.
I gave a lot of my stuff to charity, I didn’t keep much. There’s a couple of things that I won’t let go of, and most of them are accessories.
WWW: Do you remember when you first began to appreciate fashion?
KC: My mum read the commentary for fashion shows in a department store in Liverpool, England, before I was born. So she would always go shopping with an eye that was different to other mums. And so I learnt, as a young girl, about designers like Balenciaga and Christian Dior, because that was what my mum spoke of… when she would see a picture somewhere she would know that look, and she would buy what she could, equivalent wise, to what was stylish… sort of like what we do in Zara today. And I remember when I was a kid in the ’60s she had a paper dress! I remember thinking ‘Wow, my mum is so cool!’
WWW: So your mum was an inspiration to you?
KC: She was… I remember Chanel N°5 was her perfume, and I would always spray it and get in trouble for spraying it, I’d try her earrings on… There was just a kind of mystique about being feminine and growing up. They’re nice memories. I think my mum was more comfortable [in the fashion world] than she was doing the washing—and I don’t blame her!
WWW: Did you have any input into Samantha’s wardrobe?
KC: Yes, absolutely. I would also remind Patricia [Field, the costume designer] in our fittings of certain physical things that I might need to do… and she would come to the set sometimes and she would say [imitates Patricia’s accent]: ‘I think that’s a great outfit, but I don’t think you should take your shoes off, you should be in that bed with your high heels on and I think that would be so fierce.’ And I would say, ‘Wow, what a great idea, I’ve never done that with my shoes on, let’s go for it!’ I mean there was a real kind of give and take. Pat and I are still really close to this day. She gave me this [vintage belt purse] I’m wearing today.
WWW: Are there any Australian fashion designers you like?
KC: Collette Dinnigan, and Kym Ellery, I think she’s really terrific. Most of the glasses I picked for the launch have been Kym’s, and not because her name is Kym…