Patricia Field is the costume designer behind The Devil Wears Prada, Sex & The City, Emily In Paris among many others. Her iconic multi-decade career has included owning multiple boutiques, costume design and more. Most recently, Pat wrote a memoir titled, “Pat In The City” (which we highly recommend!). A sneak peek at some gems you’ll get in the book: how the tulle skirt from the Sex & The City intro came to be, Patricia’s involvement with the coats being thrown on the desk during The Devil Wears Prada and SO MUCH MORE!! Meet Pat Field in the Q&A below!
What did you enjoy most about writing your book?
Trying something new. It was a new experience for me, and I enjoy trying new things and so happy with the outcome and hope that people who read it find joy in my book [that just came out this month!].
How do you go about curating the pieces for your store ARTFashion?
Some of the artists have been in my shop before I closed Patricia Field, like Scooter La Forge, David Dalrymple and Jody Morlock. Others, I met in different places like Miami’s Art Basel, such as Lara Padilla and Dope Tavio. Sometimes, people submit their work for consideration and if it catches my eye, I go for it!
What designers are you most excited about right now?
I love when designers have humor to them. Happy clothes are what interest me.
Will you walk us through the process of how you craft an outfit?
Creating an outfit depends on the person’s sense of self. Your clothes have to express uniqueness, creativity and identity.
How did you define your sense of personal style?
My style is personal, happy, colorful. Everything in my closet goes together like a bowl of fruit.
What inspires you?
I have always been surrounded by young people. I think their energy inspires me.
How did you get into costume design (which is a great lesson for all of us to be open to unexpected opportunities!)?
My longtime friend and colleague, Candy Pratts Price, who used to window dress, was part of a production with Diane Lane called Lady Beware. The director, Karen Arthur, was looking for a costume designer and Candy suggested that I do it, and that was that!
What’s your favorite decade (or time period) for fashion?
The 80’s was a time for dancing, fun and creativity. I miss disco!
What are your favorite stores in NYC?
I miss Century 21 so much. It was my favorite place to shop. I heard they were going to reopen, and I’m waiting. For now, I tend to shop at Ina’s Vintage Boutique. She has a few locations, but I love that it’s all one of a kind items that are unique. I credit her with inventing consignment.
Pat’s guide to NYC – what are your favorite spots in the city?
I love my ArtFashion Gallery. It’s a place of joy for me. I love coming in to my gallery! For food, you’ll find me enjoying some Greek food at Pylos. I’ve also been known to party at the Monster. Lady Bunny spinning is the best.
How do you think one can showcase who you are or how you’re feeling as well as achieve your goals through your wardrobe?
It is about interest and intelligence. Self-expression is a very important factor in presenting oneself and communicating oneself to others. The main idea is to express yourself in an educated and interesting way.
“Do what you’re good at and success will follow.” Any tips for people trying to figure out their career path, strengths and/or passions?
I think that statement says it all.
We found it so interesting that when you visited Paris to start working on the wardrobe for Emily In Paris you found women were wearing sweatpants which led you to go full fantasy wardrobe. Will you tell us more about this?
I called Darren [Star: best known for creating the television series Beverly Hills, 90210, Melrose Place, Sex and the City, Younger, and Emily in Paris] and said “I’m going to check out all the French chic,” but when I stepped outside I saw all this depression wear. I called him back and said “French chic is dead!” I don’t deal in reality, so I decided to create something happier.
What did you enjoy most about your Studio 54 days? How did what people wore to Studio 54 inspire the assortment in your store & later costume design?
I love the time of Studio 54 and the Paradise Garage. Larry Levain’s music made you dance from the minute you walked in through the door.
You have an ability to spot talent early like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, etc. What do you look for when spotting new talent?
For me, if it’s intelligent and unique, it catches my eye. I see it, and I like it! It’s that simple.
You played a role in the creation & popularity of leggings. Will you tell us about that?
I was inspired by Olivia Newton John’s character, Sandy, from Grease. I called a pant maker and had him create the same silhouette. I couldn’t keep them stocked!
Since people were constantly knocking what you had in your store off, do you have any advice for how to handle when people copy your ideas, designs, etc.?
I think people who copy lack imagination. Inspiration is one thing, but copycats are just so unoriginal. I don’t relate to it.
You’ve always been able to spot trends as they are emerging. What trends have you noticed for 2023 that you’re paying attention to?
I don’t focus on trends. Trends die but classics live on. I’m more interested in using classic pieces in unique ways.
What’s your favorite aspect of the costume design process?
I love the collaboration. Getting to read the script, talk to the actors and create the characters together. I find that is the best way. I don’t dictate! They have to be comfortable because they are on camera, not me.
What do you find the most inspiring about fashion history?
Fashion is a reflection on the culture of the time.
Alison + Delia