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The girls and elaborate frocks return in Sex and the City 2.
The girls and elaborate frocks return in Sex and the City 2.

Fashion review

In Sex and the City 2, glitz is the word Add to ...

Forget Carrie's high maintenance whininess, Samantha's raging libido, Charlotte's Stepford Wife perfection and Miranda's type-A tendencies: SATC2 is all about the sparkle.

Indeed, the Sex and the City sequel is positively obsessed with the s-word.

It jazzes up the sequin-studded production company logo that pops up at the beginning of the film, weaves its way into nearly every piece of fabric the ladies wear and even becomes a crucial element in the plotline.

"We're going to have to work on sparkle for the rest of our lives," Carrie says to Big, referring not to the contents of their massive shared closet but to their famously fraught relationship.

"Every colour or … sparkle that she could put in the movie, she did," says director/producer Michael Patrick King of costume designer Patricia Field in the new Sex and the City 2 companion book chronicling the film's every aesthetic decision, from fashion to furniture.

It's a handy resource, if only to confirm that Carrie's massive clover necklace is Chahan (buh-bye nameplate) and Charlotte's clover charm bracelet is Van Cleef & Arpels. According to the unofficial gospel of Field, sparkle is the new black. Too bad it's so darn pricey. Rumour is the wardrobe budget was in the range of $10-million. Field's justification: "When you're in a recession, you want to have a good time," she told In Touch magazine recently.

But what is sparkle if not little pieces of plastic that reflect light, an artificial device that detracts from natural beauty? The effect has the unintended consequence of reflecting poorly on Field, who has evidently dispensed with the bold floral pairings of the first movie for bejewelled bags, studded stilettos and glittery gewgaws. Alas, all that glitters isn't gold.

As a counterpoint to all the flash, there is one matte terracotta boyfriend-style blazer that appears in many scenes and several Halston Heritage dresses that are sans sparkle (one electric blue mini, however, does not escape Field's BeDazzler).

These pieces happen to be the most accessible - both in terms of wearing and buying. How coincidental is it that Parker is now chief creative officer for Halston Heritage?

Indeed, the clothes do a wonderful job of raising questions. Is Samantha intentionally embracing animal prints as an acknowledgment of her cougar status or is this meant to be "subliminal"?

Is a goddess-style Norma Kamali dress appropriate attire for a 14-hour flight to Abu Dhabi?

And are Kim Cattrall's earlobes suffering from permanent droop after all those shoulder dusters?

Label gazers will have no problem spotting the surfeit of luxury brands, especially on Charlotte, whose predilection for Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Dior could single-handedly keep the boutiques on 57th Street in business.

Poor Samantha, however, emerges from this whole sequel exercise as a desperate late adopter. Not only does she attend a movie premiere wearing the same Matthew Williamson dress as Miley Cyrus, but she sports the identical over-embellished red dress by The Blonds spotted in real life on Rihanna months ago.

So draped in sequins are the women that the men come across as dull and uninspired - and yes, this applies to the acting as well.

It is ironic that the foursome continues to go heavy on the glitter even as they vacation in a country where local women sport ultra conservative burkas and niqabs (although Carrie does at least attempt to fit in by donning a metallic turban).

On the other hand, long-time SATC fans will appreciate the scene when Carrie slips into her Christian Dior newsprint dress from the Season Three episode where she apologizes to Big's then-wife for their affair.

Only in rare circumstances do we see the series' stars re-wear their outfits (there is one other flashback scene and, costume-wise, it's a winner).

More poignantly, the choice is an ode to the opinionated, fashionably fearless sex columnist we fell in love with over a decade ago.

Now that was a woman who didn't need an ounce of sartorial sparkle to shine.

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