When StyleList asked her today, at an intimate bunch in New York City, about the process behind the creation of her sixth scent, SJP in NYC, she told us "I'm going to give you the long answer." And we all sat back for a few minutes of eau-ducation.
"When you have a general thought, the hard part is focusing it," she said. "I wanted to capture a freeze frame in Carrie's life. A snapshot of her walking down her favorite street in the spring, in a floral dress."
With that very specific picture in mind, Parker and team set out to create a scent that combines the whimsy of Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw -- who Parker knows quite intimately after six seasons on HBO and two feature films -- with the contagious exuberance we all feel on the first real day of spring. But it was no easy feat.
"We live in New York, which is a fragrant city, and some of the smells are good, while others are very bad. So we tried to capture the good," said Parker, who resides in Manhattan's West Village with her three children and husband Matthew Broderick.
After months in creation, SJP NYC was born, with top notes of Italian mandarin and wild red strawberries, a middle of gardenia and honeysuckle, and a base of creamy musk. Though the overall scent smells quite whimsical and fun, Parker admits that it's not what she expected at the beginning. "I was surprised by the outcome," she said. "There's a strawberry note, which is so surprising."
To Parker, SJP NYC captures that childhood, schools-out-for-the-summer mentality. "Its like when they ring the recess bell, that excitement of the beginning if summer," she said.
Following her five existing scents, Lovely, Covet, Dawn, Twilight and Endless, SJP NYC is the most innocent of the bunch. "The others are sexually stronger," she said, describing Lovely as a scent she'd wear to the ballet, and joking that she's wear Covet, the riskiest scent of the bunch, to jail. "Or when I'm out on bail," she added.
The advertising campaign was styled by Elle creative director Joe Zee, with whom Parker has worked on previous campaigns. They tapped designer Oscar De La Renta to create the floral dress for the ad, which, Parker pointed out, is technically competition against his own line of fragrances.
"He gave his time and talent to us, but he's got his own business and his own stuff that could be seen as competitive, and the fact that he will still do something like this for someone like myself speaks volumes about his elegance and classiness and chivalry.
"But if he were a monster, as talented as he is, I would still ask him to make me a dress."
After hanging out with formulators for so long, Parker has earned some major fragrance chops, and shared her favorite tip with us. "I've learned a thing or two about application," she says. "We apply a fragrance, and then we rip it apart by rubbing our wrists together. The key is to apply it and just let it sit for awhile. No rubbing."
On beauty, Parker says she can't live without moisturizer and always has a lip balm in her pocket. But her favorite product? Mascara. "It's the Holy Grail," she said. "I'm on an endless search for the right one."
"I'm very bad at makeup and wear next to none in me personal life. I can put on mascara, and that's it."
Clearly, Sarah Jessica Parker is focusing her beauty energy on fragrance. Which is fine with us.