It’s funny the things you notice on TV. Little details like what a character is eating or reading or wearing can grab your attention and refuse to let go. On HBO Max’s And Just Like That, it’s often the fashion, and that’s by design. Like its predecessor Sex and the City, a major part of the show’s appeal is its characters’ rarefied and often over-the-top sense of style. Part of the reason we watch is to see what Carrie and her friends will wear and how they’ll accessorize it. Whole careers have been made chronicling every single outfit the characters wore on the original series, and GRAZIA is continuing that tradition with our weekly fashion recaps.
Over a couple of recent episodes, I actually found myself taken with a particular accessory. For some reason, Carrie’s multicolored knit blanket just stood out to me. I mean, that’s the point, obviously. One of the cardinal rules of writing about film and TV is to always remember that almost nothing is unintentional. Everything you see onscreen was chosen by someone and is there for a reason. So, obviously this funfetti-esque throw was selected precisely because it is eye-catching.
I think the item in question appears for the first time in Episode 5, “Tragically Hip.” You know, the one where New York fashionista socialite about town party girl Carrie Bradshaw has a hip replacement or whatever. You can just see its fluffy tassels peeping out of the giant carryall Carrie has brought with her to the hospital while she and Miranda are waiting in the lobby. Later in the same episode, it appears on Carrie’s desk chair while she’s Zooming, high on painkillers, with her podcast co-hosts. Then in Episode 6, it gets its biggest moment in the spotlight thus far: draped over Carrie’s lap as she settles in with a book—Gabriel Krauze’s acclaimed autobiographical novel Who They Was, if you want to know—in the cozy Upper East Side apartment into which she’s retreated in the aftermath of her husband’s death.
Maybe it was because it has been particularly cold and bleak recently here in New York, but I found myself randomly googling this random cozy-looking, cheerful blanket. I mean, I say “blanket” because that’s what I assumed it was. To my eye, it looked like the kind of funky knit throw that you might find at a flea market or church bazaar; not quite the sort of think you’d find draped over the Conners’ couch, but a not-too-distant cousin. And this may have been part of its appeal. For all her glamor, Carrie was always comparatively down to earth. There was room in her sartorial purview for both one-of-a-kind designer pieces and thrift store finds. You could imagine her picking up a playful t-shirt or something on St. Marks or a hand-made shawl that caught her eye at a street fair. I assumed this “blanket” was something along those lines.
Oh, how wrong I was. Turns out, it was not a funky hand-made blanket that someone’s grandma knitted, but a $2,650 Gabriela Hearst cashmere wrap. (And I should note that when I mentioned writing about this, my colleague Hannah Militano immediately identified it.)
I don’t know why I was surprised. The version of Carrie in And Just Like That is stupendously rich, and has been for years. Of course, her funky, old-lady-looking blanket is actually a prohibitively expensive piece. That checks out. And yet, there’s just something oddly…unseemly about the way Carrie uses such a rarefied, luxury item so carelessly. She is literally sitting on it in that Zoom scene. It brings to mind something I frequently wonder about wealth, luxury, etc.: If you can afford everything, how can you value anything? (And here, once again, I have to wonder if I’m allowed to say this kind of thing on a fashion website…) When treasure becomes quotidian, can you actually treasure anything?
In a way, this is all kind of the inverse of this summer’s minor brouhaha over the “secondhand” dress Carrie wore in Episode 3, which bore a striking resemblance to one that could be purchased by just about any old unwashed nobody at Forever 21. Fans were borderline apoplectic that the character might deem such an affordable garment stylish enough to wear in public. (Obviously, there’s a conversation to be had about fast fashion and its effects on the economy, the environment, laborers, etc., but I’m skeptical of how much that was on fans’ minds, or Carrie’s, if I’m honest.) Meanwhile, here I am having some kind of existential crisis over the same fictional person using a nearly-$3,000 shawl as a seat cushion.
What a world!