Patricia Field

Costume Designer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, designer Patricia Field talks about growing up in Manhattan and being business-savvy from an early age. She chronicles starting her own shop in the city and beginning a career in fashion design. She talks about her first job as a costume designer in film, and her early jobs in television on NBC's Crime Story and Shelly Duvall's Mother Goose Rock 'n Rhyme, for which she won her first Emmy Award. She discusses at length her role as designer for the long-running series Sex and the City and the impact the show's fashion had on popular culture. She details her design process and her role to "elevate" the story a little higher through beautiful clothing. She outlines other television shows on which she worked, such as Spin City and Ugly Betty, and her contributions to the film "The Devil Wears Prada" with Meryl Streep. She also gives her advice to aspiring television costume designers and discusses her future career aspirations. Bonnie Datt conducted the interview in New York City on October 18, 2011.

"The clothes are helping to tell the story, to define the character. I never tried to consciously create a trend. All I really ever did was try to make things look beautiful, and tell the story."

Highlights
Patricia Field on some signature costume choices from Sex and the City; the "Carrie" necklace 
Patricia Field on the Versace gown that Sarah Jessica Parker wore in the finale of Sex and the City  and how it "heightened the sadness" of the scene
01:38
Patricia Field on being inspired by the characters on Shelly Duvall's Mother Goose Rock 'n Rhyme and its stars
Patricia Field on her advice to aspiring television costume designers: "identify your assets"
01:11
Patricia Field on enjoying the storytelling character of costume design
Full Interview

Chapter 1

Introduction
On her childhood, parents and early life in Manhattan and Queens
On learning about fabrics and clothing from her parents' dry-cleaning store in New York; on her education
On her beginnings as a businesswoman; on working at department stores; on the development of her personal style and the type of clothing she sold at her store, "Patricia Field"
On entering the field of costume design in films; "Lady Beware" and "He's My Girl"
On transitioning to costume design for television on Crime Story (NBC); working with Michael Mann; on Mother Goose Rock 'n Rhyme with Shelly Duvall; on winning her first Emmy Award; on meeting Sarah Jessica Parker
On how she came to be the Costume Designer for Sex and the City  after the pilot was shot

Chapter 2

On not being influenced by other sitcoms on television; on how her two industries (fashion and costume design for TV) intertwine; on why she enjoys working in television; on how fashion helps to "tell the story"; on how her job is to respect the characters
On her work as a costume designer on Sex and the City; on the success of the show resting in the casting by Darren Star; on each of the stars and the inspiration behind their character's costuming
Patricia Field on some signature costume choices from Sex and the City; the "Carrie" necklace, the tule skirt, Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks; on the impact the fashion was having on popular culture; on designers who became part of the show

Chapter 3

On some of the more memorable fashion trends that Sex and the City created: the big flower, pearls
On the impact Sex and the City had on women at the time, on having "fun with clothes"; on not anticipating trends; on her personal style; on the Versace gown in the finale; on where the SITC wardrobe is now
On working on Spin City, Hope and Faith, Guiding Light, Ugly Betty
On working on the film The Devil Wears Prada with David Frankel and Meryl Streep
On how being in New York City her whole life has affected her style and taste; on her identity as a lesbian; on her advice to aspiring designers and career aspirations
Shows

Crime Story

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Patricia Field on the NBC show Crime Story, directed by Michael Mann, when she was the costume designer

Guiding Light

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Patricia Field on her role on Guiding Light as a wardrobe consultant 

Mother Goose Rock 'n Rhyme

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Patricia Field on being inspired by the characters on Shelly Duvall's Mother Goose Rock 'n Rhyme and its stars
Patricia Field on designing the costume's for Shelly Duvall's Mother Goose Rock 'n Rhyme which also starred Jean Stapleton, Woody Harrelson, Art Garfunkel, Ben Vereen, Cyndi Lauper, and more
Patricia Field on winning an Emmy for Costume Design for Mother Goose Rock 'n Rhyme; but she missed getting her award because she got lost

Project Runway

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Patricia Field on working on Project Runway with Heidi Klum

Sex and the City

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Patricia Field on how she came to be the Costume Designer for Sex in the City  after the pilot was shot
Patricia Field on her doubts that Sex and the City would be a show people would watch
Patricia Field on her work as a costume designer on Sex and the City; on the success of the show resting in the casting by Darren Star; on each of the stars
Patricia Field on the color palettes she used on Sex and the City
Patricia Field on her inspiration for the Sex and the City costume design and the budget for the show
Patricia Field on some signature costume choices from Sex and the City; the "Carrie" necklace 
Patricia Field on some signature costume choices from Sex and the City; the tutu and tank top in the opening sequence
Patricia Field on the impact Sex and the City  was having on women's fashion as the show became popular
Patricia Field on how designers became increasingly eager to send clothes to Sex and the City; on some of the designers that became staples such as Chanel, Manolo Blahnik
Patricia Field on her process of costume designing for Sex and the City "it begins with the script"
Patricia Field on how the writers on Sex and the City began writing to the fashion, such as an episode where "Carrie" says "I lost my Choos" (referring to Jimmy Choo shoes); the clothes became famous
Patricia Field on some of the more memorable fashion trends that Sex and the City  created: the big flower, pearls
Patricia Field on the impact Sex and the City  had on women at the time, on having "fun with clothes"; on not anticipating trends
Patricia Field on hiding Sarah Jessica Parker's real-life pregnancy on Sex and the City with wardrobe and the challenges
Patricia Field on her proudest achievement as costume designer on Sex and the City  and its impact on women "it broke down the uniform"
02:24

Sex and the City: "An American Girl in Paris (Part Deux)"

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Patricia Field on the Versace gown that Sarah Jessica Parker wore in the finale of Sex and the City in Paris

Spin City

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Patricia Field on working on Spin City as a costume designer; on working on a sitcom "it's theater"
01:36

Ugly Betty

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Patricia Field on the challenges of working on Ugly Betty: the producers; on how the "look" got established
04:06
Topics

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Patricia Field on how being in New York City her whole life has affected her style and taste
01:27

Emmy Awards

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Patricia Field on winning an Emmy for Costume Design for Mother Goose Rock 'n Rhyme; but she missed getting her award because she got lost
02:40

Pop Culture

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Patricia Field on how Jimmy Choo became associated with Sex and the City fashion
Patricia Fields on not anticipating the effect that Sex and the City  had on trends
00:34
Professions

Costume Designer

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Patricia Field on her inspiration for the Sex and the City  costume design, her color palette choices, and the budget for the show
Patricia Field on Sex and the City "that show brought the fashion industry alive"
00:22
Patricia Field on her process of costume designing for Sex and the City  "it begins with the script"
Patricia Field on how the writers on Sex and the City  began writing to the fashion, such as an episode where "Carrie" says "I lost my Choos" (referring to Jimmy Choo shoes); on how the clothes became famous themselves
02:18
Patricia Field on dressing the men on Sex and the City; on dressing extras
Patricia Field on the role of fashion on Sex and the City  "you're not selling clothes, you're telling a story WITH clothes"
00:30
Patricia Field on her proudest achievement as costume designer on Sex and the City  and its impact on women "it broke down the uniform"
02:24
Patricia Field on working on Spin City  as a costume designer; on working on a sitcom
Patricia Field on the decision to give Meryl Streep white hair in "The Devil Wears Prada"
Patricia Field on her style and her approach to fashion as timeless
Patricia Field on her advice to aspiring television costume designers: "identify your assets"
Genres

Comedy Series

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Patricia Field on working on Spin City  as a costume designer; on working on a sitcom and the different process than a drama "it's theater"
01:36
People

Kim Cattrall

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Patricia Field on Kim Catrall's costuming on Sex and the City  as "bigger than life"

Kristin Davis

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Patricia Field on Kristin Davis' costuming on Sex and the City  and her "Charlotte" character

Michael J. Fox

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Patricia Field on working with Michael J. Fox on Spin Cit y as a costume designer

Michael Patrick King

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Patricia Field on working with Michael Patrick King on Sex and the City; he took over for Darren Star

Heidi Klum

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Patricia Field on working on Project Runway  with Heidi Klum

Heather Locklear

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Patricia Field on working with Heather Locklear on Spin Cit y as a costume designer
00:24

Bob Mackie

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Patricia Field on winning an Emmy for Costume Design for Mother Goose Rock 'n Rhyme; but she missed getting her award because she got lost; on her personal pride for winning over designers she admired like Bob Mackie
01:12

Sarah Jessica Parker

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Patricia Field on meeting Sarah Jessica Parker on the set of Miami Rhapsody; they would later work together on Sex and the City
Patricia Field on Sarah Jessica Parker's influence on the costume design on Sex and the City and her inspiration for the character of "Carrie"

Kelly Ripa

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Patricia Field on working with Kelly Ripa on Hope and Faith  as a costume designer

Darren Star

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Patricia Field on working with producer Darren Star on multiple projects

Meryl Streep

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Patricia Field on working with Meryl Streep on The Devil Wears Prada as the costume designer

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