So you’re rushing home this evening to watch the And Just Like That season two finale? (Let’s pretend for everyone’s dignity that you didn’t already binge it at 8am this morning). Then you are probably a millennial woman or gay man and you definitely have a number of questions that need answering. For example: would any grown man who says “chello!” really get laid? Where can I get one of those dog portraits? Did Harry and Steve get their personality transplants at the same doctors? Why does Lisa Todd Wexley do all her work in a walk in wardrobe? And, of course, who the hell commissioned season three (grateful, obviously, just curious)?
Let’s start with a disclaimer, a bit of fine print: the Sex and the City universe one must suspend disbelief over almost everything – especially - the clothes. What they cost, where they’re stored (see the Moncler Genius Valentino cape gown plucked from, well, where exactly?), how anyone runs or moves or breathes in them, none of this should enter your mind. You don’t come here for laddered tights or blister plasters or mid-market brands. You come here for fantasy, for the sublime and the ridiculous. If it’s realism you’re after, I’d head to the X Men, Twilight and Fast & Furious franchises long before AJLT. But now the Sex and the City love-to-hate-it spinoff has concluded its second season, what’s the style verdict? Well, it’s complicated.
Like fellow fans, my appreciation for the SATC-cum-AJLT world has become a little frayed around the edges in recent years. Sure we never came for the realism, but we did come for the relatability, for the stories and characters and what they wore were bizarrely identifiable even blown up to comic proportions. That has, by and large, been diminished, flattened, via AJLT’s explicit obsession with money. The peacockery of the show’s conspicuous consumption makes it harder to appreciate – and, I think, less good looking as a result. Shopping sprees and lavish namechecking of brands often seem to have replaced personality and dialogue.
Still, what I do love to see is Carrie wearing glitter boots and trackie bottoms for a stroll in Coney Island. I never asked for sensible. The SJP looks that have worked best this season are those with a bit of that OG maverick spirit (see the outfits from the formerly little known Converted Closet) or which hark back to bygone seasons via funny little coats and ginormous corsages. But generally there is a sense of throwing everything at the cast and seeing what sticks (the answer this season? A surplus of plaid and knitwear and, strangely, purple).
Social media has been the curse of AJLT, you can see the costume cogs turning: buzz! And how you cut through the noise? With more noise! Louder, bigger, brighter, more batshit the better! But look, the shows whose clothes have captured the public imagination in recent years (see: Succession, The Bear) aren’t about the clothes. Not everything needs to be hammered home so hard. The results are mixed: some good, some bad, lots of confusion. Things we would like to have seen more of on the style front? Miranda’s power lesbian suiting era. Actually Miranda’s rich-Cali-hippy LA era too. Seema’s hoods and leopard print and Birkins and cigarettes. And less? Charlotte’s increasingly deranged Stepford at the Plaza get-ups. Aiden’s ‘cinched’ waist. Lily’s entire Chanel dress storyline.
I know I’m not alone in saying that I either dislike or am disinterested in the chorus of support characters who, in my opinion are given way too much airtime (apart from Seema: icon, queen, give her her own show). But this season’s two flashes of style brilliance have been reserved not for main characters or support roles but mere cameos. One, the eternally stylish Gloria Steinem in one of her signature boho belts. And two, Asmeret Ghebremichael, hosting a talk with LTW at MOMA in one of Loewe’s Man Ray-style hand dresses. A ridiculously brilliant choice, quite possibly the look of the season. Of course there is one more cameo to come (no spoilers, but they might be wearing a Fendi clutch and metallic jacket, wink wink). And you never know she might just make it all worth it.