WE'RE GOING TO LET YOU IN ON A LITTLE SECRET – fashion was the last thing on our radar when we were in high school! We could have easily been coined the goth kid back in the day, but the one guilty pleasure we had was Sex and the City. Granted it was considered inappropriate for our age, but Carrie and company inspired us to put pen to paper and make a living out if it. (We wanted our own Manolos!) That’s why we were excited to attend the world premiere of CW’s The Carrie Diaries on Tuesday. Candace Bushnell joined her mini-Carrie Anna Sophia Robb while Vanessa Hudgens also came out to support her boyfriend Austin Butler, who plays the object of Carrie’s teenage affections.
While we know what Carrie became after she moved to the city, The Carrie Diaries take a look at what lead her to New York in the first place. In the summer of 1984, the Castlebury High School junior loses her mother and is forced to grow up sooner than she expected because of her rebellious little sister Dorritt and her overwhelmed father. On the first day back to school she gets the run down on what her friends were up to over the summer and meets the sexy new transfer student, Sebastian. Her sweet but shy friend, Mouse, had a whirlwind romance with a guy named Seth during her page program, even losing her virginity to him. We also discover that her pals Maggie and Seth have yet to sleep with each other even though Maggie isn’t as innocent as she seems. To get out of her funk, Carrie jumps at the chance to intern in Manhattan at a law firm, thanks to her dad. Then she meets Larissa and her friends, the style editor for Interview magazine, where she discovers the gritty and glamorous club culture and falls in love with the city itself.
Bushnell, Robb and producer Amy B. Harris sat with Entertainment Weekly’s Tim Stack to answer the many questions the fans had. Harris addressed the plot changes between Sex and the City, The Carrie Diaries book series, and the new show, noting that in the original show Carrie had lost her father. “I always thought that Carrie was wonderfully dysfunctional with men for more complicated reasons like her dad left,” she explained. “And the idea that she lost her mother was such a brilliant way why she was afraid in her relationships. It’s going to different than the series; it’s going to be a lot about Carrie becomes the Carrie she is from different precursors that will come up along the way as little Easter eggs for our audience.”
With Carrie Bradshaw being an iconic character that many identify with, Stack asked what was it about her that drew everyone to her. “I think the character [was about being an individual and not necessarily a follower, someone who blazes their own path and has their own point of view about life, and that was something that was always important to me when I was a kid,” Bushnell explained. “My father always stressed the importance of being your own person and not doing thing just because everyone else was doing it and having the courage to look at the world in an honest and unique way.” Robb admitted that she didn’t know which version of Ms. Bradshaw she should play when she began filming the pilot. “I didn’t know if I was supposed to be the show or this show [or] read the book, “ she said. “I guess it was a combination of everyone’s experience and what they love from Carrie. But it’s really wonderful to have Sex and the City as a guiding light because we know the journey that Carrie goes to as her ending. Having the show I can look back and with the books I can look forward."
Speaking of the original show, many in the audience wondered if Robb had received any reaction from Sarah Jessica Parker when she was announced as the star of the new show. “She sent me a really lovely note of encouragement, sort of passing the torch and just congratulating me and giving me her approval,” she said. ‘It was very sweet, and I was not expecting that at all, but I feel very honored.”
Going into the time warp of the mid-eighties, the fashion is definitely a huge focus, blending signature 80s styles contemporary touches. “We kept calling it ‘aspirational authenticity,’” Harris said. “We didn’t want to parachute pants or thin glasses in a very cartoony way.”
“I think there’s a lot of pieces that you see and think ‘I could wear that,’ ‘That look modern and fresh,’ but at the same time there’s hints of the eighties,” Robb added. “There’s the neon and not-too-big shoulder pads.”
So will the audience meet the mini-version of her New York gang in the show? Not this season, but maybe down the road. “We’ve been talking about teasing out you meet someone and find out they’re someone’s roommate and sort of getting little pieces from other people,” Harris said. “There’s a lot of fun Easter eggs that we’re proud of, and a lot of them fashion-related, but also different ways you can see the adult Carrie in the young Carrie.” We can’t wait!
The Carrie Diaries premieres in January on the CW.