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'Sex and the City': For Better and for Worse Dressed

Clad in a Vivienne Westwood wedding gown and attended by bridesmaid Cynthia Nixon, Sarah Jessica Parker prepares to tie the knot.

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Believe it or not, there are women out there who did and do not watch "Sex and the City." Not during its six-season run from 1998 to 2004, nor in the subsequent four years it has been available on DVD, HBO On Demand or in syndication almost nightly on TBS. And these women aren't necessarily bumpkin conservatives, but fashion-devouring city gals, as well. C--k talk and shameless puns aren't for everyone, after all. Still, here's betting that, whether or not they followed Carrie's, Charlotte's, Miranda's and Samantha's quests for happiness in New York, more than a few of those "Sex"-less women have donned a giant flower pin, flaunted Manolos or pined for a Birkin bag in the past 10 years, after an "SATC"-fueled fad gripped the masses. The HBO series was a fashion force that, thanks to Sarah Jessica Parker's effervescent Carrie Bradshaw and her costumer, Patricia Field, exposed a mainstream audience to flamboyant style extremes. It sparked trends like the flowers, the shoes and the general funky flash, and, according to some fashion editors, even spawned a backlash of Belgium-inspired austerity a few seasons ago.

So, when "Sex and the City: The Movie" comes out from New Line Cinema on Wednesday, legions of loyalists hope to learn more than the answers to the obvious questions: Will Carrie and Big get married? Will Charlotte finally get pregnant? Will Samantha stay with one man? Will Miranda be happy with Steve and son in Brooklyn? Everyone who goes to see this movie also wants to see the clothes. It's a fact the producers are well aware of and acknowledge outright. Just after the opening credits roll comes Parker's familiar girlish voice-over, declaring that the female New York experience comes down to "the two Ls: labels and love." Such shallow reductionism is an "SATC" signature. And the producers get credit for sticking to their shtick: style, sex and shameless puns (Lost Angeles, anyone? How about a Mexicoma?), enough to roll your eyes right out of your head. When it came to the clothes, they went for visual overload. The label-dropping — Chanel, Prada, Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Christian Lacroix, Vivienne Westwood and, of course, Manolo Blahnik, whom Carrie did not trade in for Christian Louboutin — is intense. That Carrie, in all seriousness, states that a Richard Prince Louis Vuitton bag is "the best money I ever spent," says it all about the show's, and now the movie's, priorities.
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