"'Sex and the City' is one movie where everything is considered," says designer Lydia Marks, who decorated the sets for the first film as well as the sequel. As set decorator, Marks is responsible for every detail, from a magazine perched on a coffee table to what's inside an actress's purse when she opens it.
The film's production called for high-end sets, including a Morocco hotel, which was empty prior to shooting. Marks had to completely decorate the hotel, but it was Carrie and Big's Manhattan pad -- which featured custom-made carpets, gold-leaf lighting fixtures, antique furniture, and closet doors with obscenely expensive hardware -- that got the most fabulous décor.
Marks, who also designed sets for "The Devil Wears Prada," talked to StyleList about her favorite "SATC2" pieces. Die-hard fans -- with Big money -- can even buy some of Carrie's featured furnishings.
Lydia Marks: The two vintage armchairs in the living room are at Bergdorf Goodman in New York, the custom light fixture from the library is at Lindsey Adelman Studio, and the dining room table is at Alan Moss Studios in Manhattan.
SL: How did you choose those three pieces?
LM: The armchairs: I was at Bergdorf's looking for a table runner for Charlotte's long, formal dining table. I turned and there were these two exquisite blue armchairs. They became the centerpiece of Big and Carrie's living room, and I ended up basing a lot of the other furniture on these chairs.
The chandelier: I needed a fabulous light fixture for the library. Lindsey Adelman custom-made the hanging fixture, with gorgeous handblown glass globes laced with 14-carat gold foil and gold murrine, all connected into a cluster with brushed brass stems. It's la luxe lamp; [Lindsey Adelman Studio] is like couture for lamps.
Dining room table: Alan Moss has an exquisite collection of furniture, lighting, mirrors, and decorative objects from the 1920s to the 1950s. We rented a lot of pieces, including the chair at Carrie's drop-down desk, sconces for the bathroom, the dining room table. His collection has beautiful finishes, the scale of the pieces was perfect for our sets, and the choices are amazing.
[Note: At press time, these items were still for sale.]
SL: You used a lot of custom-made pieces on the set. Did any turn out particularly well?
LM: I like the blue ottoman in Big and Carrie's living room. We needed to have Carrie sit on an ottoman for an important scene, and I was not sure what padded and upholstered pillow would be up to the task. Anne Kyro Quinn's original piece, made in our choice of color and size, was the perfect solution. I chose blue because it worked well with the deeper browns in the room; it was a pop of brightness. In addition, it was close in color to Carrie's blue walls in her old apartment, which was like bringing a little piece of the old Carrie into this new environment. Anne Kyro Quinn is based in the U.K., but her work is available online.
SL: Which pieces were especially difficult?
LM: We had to re-create Carrie's old apartment from the first movie, and none of the furniture had been saved. We had to re-create it entirely from scratch, and I had trouble tracking down two tables.
The coffee table [foreground in above photo] is from ABC Carpet and Home. ABC's personal shopper helped me find this table the first time AND the second time. It's like detective work.
The black side table [at rear, above] is from Area I.D. in New York. I rented a great pair of mid-century modern side tables from Area I.D. for the first movie. The tables had been sold, and the buyer refused to rent them to us again, so Area I.D. organized a furniture maker to recreate them from photographs. They came out perfectly, black piano finish and all.
SL: You were particularly happy with Big and Carrie's gleaming kitchen backsplash. How did you get that effect?
LM: These tiles are three-dimensional and I thought they'd photograph well. They're custom-made and had a carbon glaze with a silvery sheen. They are from Heath Tile in Sausalito, Calif., one of the few mid-century American potteries still in existence.
SL: Patricia Field chose what Carrie wore, but you filled her famous closets. Where did you get all that high-fashion stuff?
LM: Carrie's old closet was filled with her wardrobe from the TV series and the first movie. The clothes in Carrie's new closet are all from Net-A-Porter.