Sarah Jessica Parker Simon de Pury Bravo's 'Work of Art' white pants black blazer

Sarah Jessica Parker with Simon de Pury, the "mentor" of Bravo's "Work of Art." Photo courtesy of Bravo

Actress Sarah Jessica Parker made a brief surprise appearance on this week's premiere episode of her new Bravo reality competition, "Work of Art," and seemed genuinely amused when one of the contestants did not recognize her.

The contestant's gaffe was even more of a faux pas because the superstar style icon just happens to be the show's executive producer!

Much like "Project Runway," which previously aired on Bravo until its switched over to Lifetime, "Work of Art" features a stable of creative characters competing for a $100,000 prize and the chance for a solo exhibition at the edgy Brooklyn Museum.

Here, paint and brushes take the place of needles and thread, and a weekly gallery show is the model-free alternative to the intimidating runway competition.

Parker, who will not be a series regular, got mostly gasps and double takes when she popped in on the competitors to give them a pep talk during their first challenge, which involved creating a portrait of a rival cast member.

Then there was the reaction of Miles, a young artist with a quirky silk-screen process who claims to be afflicted with obsessive compulsive disorder. He stared blankly at Parker as she was summoned by contestant mentor Simon de Pury and said weakly, "And you are?" Parker grinned, offered her hand and said simply, "I'm Sarah Jessica."

When the awkwardness was over, Parker advised the contestants to "be brave, be competitive, and be yourselves." She also spoke of her love of art, having been raised in a family "that appreciated art and creativity."

Miles later recovered from his slight, insisting that he was just "joking" and sometimes "people don't get my sense of humor." Nice save! He survived the judging with a coveted spot in the top three.

Though she has no plans to be on the art scene much, Parker has called the series, which she's been developing for two years, a "labor of love."

Still, expect the show to have some fashionable moments even without her: Model/actress and art connoisseur China Chow serves as a host/judge (much like Heidi Klum on "Project Runway").

StyleList hears that Chow, already a fixture on best-dressed lists, has assembled a fabulous designer wardrobe for her duties.

In other reality TV news, read about the controversy over "Real Housewife" Bethenny Frankel's dramatic post-baby weight loss.