This article contains spoilers for Episodes 1 and 2 of the second season of “And Just Like That.”
On Thursday, Max dropped the first two episodes of the second season of “And Just Like That,” and with characteristically over-the-top looks, candid lunches and vivid sexual encounters, that old “Sex and the City” energy is back.
The women have secured invitations to the Met Gala, and they are scrambling to prepare their outfits and finalize their plus-ones. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker) is hooking up again, Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) has moved to California for Che (Sara Ramirez) and Charlotte (Kristin Davis) is tussling with a resale platform to get back clothes her daughter sold off to buy a keyboard.
Ahead of Carrie and company’s return to the small screen, reporters and editors on the Styles desk discussed the eye-popping fashion and high-flying lifestyles on display in the first two episodes.
Louis Lucero II: I couldn’t help but wonder whether this day would ever come, but it’s here! And what a way to return from a season that was draped in mourner’s black for nine of its 10 episodes. That opening montage of nightgowns and come-hither chic was a DECLARATION.
Are we going to talk about the elephant/sweatshirt in the room?
Madison Malone Kircher: In case you didn’t spot it, Carrie kicks off Episode 1 in a New York Times sweatshirt: white, oversize, with a subtle little logo. (It’s not for sale at the company merch store, I checked.)
LL: The New York Times, leaving money on the table since 1851.
MMK: There was also that “I Love Central Park” sweatshirt in Season 1.
We get it! The city is a character!
LL: If I recall correctly, Carrie flashes an “NYC Votes” sticker — affixed to the back of her phone — in the first episode of the previous season. The Carrie of “And Just Like That” seems eager to wear her engaged-citizen bona fides on her sleeve (or sweatshirt, or phone case).
MMK: Just not at the Met. We must talk about the Met.
LL: I cackled at the theme of this fictional Met Gala — “Veiled Beauty” — for its sheer plausibility.
MMK: The looks were … just not that good?
Callie Holtermann: Lisa Todd Wexley’s dramatic red Valentino look, which she had to haul down the sidewalk with a totally view-obstructing headpiece, was good prop comedy. But it was also a wink at the excess and extreme inconvenience of high fashion — and why the characters on this show, and some people in real life, find it to be worthwhile anyway.
Vanessa Friedman: The Met looks actually felt pretty plausible to me, even in their kitsch. Often the gala is super kitschy. But a few things: 1) EVERYONE has to walk up the stairs; 2) Anna Wintour approves every guest, so there is no swapping your plus-ones; and 3) you can’t just “buy a table” and invite whomever you want. Details, people, details.
Beyond the gala, though, and I am sorry to be a downer here, I just kept thinking the show’s creator, Darren Star, has drunk too much of his own “Emily in Paris” Kool-Aid.
Jeremy Allen: Vanessa, I was thinking about “Emily in Paris” the whole time — especially the maximalism of it all. It used to be that Carrie Bradshaw provided the most indelible, outrageous fashion moments; now, she almost seems like a paragon of stealth wealth compared with some of the more outré outings.
Katie Van Syckle: What did you think of the resurrection of Carrie’s Vivienne Westwood wedding dress from the 2008 “Sex and the City” movie?
VF: I thought that was smart actually — a nice nod to Ms. Westwood, who died at the end of last year, and also something that S.J.P., a Met Gala stalwart, might plausibly wear IRL. Especially the bird on her head. She had quite a headdress at the actual gala in honor of “China: Through the Looking Glass,” as I recall.
KVS: It was also interesting that she rewore a look!
CH: I thought the wedding dress look made a good metaphor for the resuscitation of this series: It didn’t go perfectly the first time. I’m not altogether convinced it needed to be dug back out of the closet. But it’s back, and kind of overthought, with the addition of that big teal cape.
VF: If the rewear is their attempt at sustainability, though, I think the message got buried in the muchness of the rest of the wardrobing.
LL: Above and beyond the environmental arguments for shopping one’s closet, Carrie made an emotional case for it as well: “I’ve only worn it once; it’s not the best memory.”
CH: There was also a meta-costume-design moment in Episode 1. What did you think of Che Diaz’s conversation with the costume department for their new TV show? And the blue hair!
LL: A needed dose of butch! I don’t think anyone else in this wild and wacky cast is going to make the case for jeans and a T-shirt.
JA: Is it just me, or does there seem to be a glut of muchness as time passes? The necklaces keep getting chunkier, the prints keep getting printier and the cocktail rings could be used as homing devices for pigeons (if only Carrie’s JW Anderson pigeon clutch).
VF: It’s the Emily effect.
MMK: The pigeon clutch brings us into Episode 2. What did you all make of it?
CH: My favorite fashion moment of Episode 2 is when Lily, Charlotte’s daughter, performs a moody Olivia-Rodrigo-meets-Billie-Eilish song about feeling trapped on Park Avenue. Her parents are aghast that she swapped her Steinway for an electric keyboard and her demure pink Chanel for a gigantic beanie and a choker. It’s a tale as old as time.
VF: Anyone who buys their teenager a Chanel dress deserves that teenager being smart enough to resell it to their own ends.
JA: From “Lagerfeld’s last collection,” ostensibly!
KVS: And the Real Deal appears to be a fictional resale platform. Not to be confused with the real estate trade publication.
LL: While accompanying Charlotte on her abortive mission to retrieve the dress, Carrie wore what has to be one of her more powerful — and understated — outfits of the series so far: an olive green jumpsuit with military styling.
JA: Exactly. It wasn’t all about screaming prints or statement jewelry that could concuss, but about inventive pairings: the Converted Closet jumpsuit, mini Fendi baguette bag and aforementioned clutch just did it for me. There was both a subtlety and a ridiculousness to it.
VF: The dress-up all looks kind of hollow to me, though. Less fun than it used to be. Though I suppose maybe that’s part of the aging issue, and the perennial question of what it means to dress your age. The whole “just because you can wear it, doesn’t mean you should” thing. I’m all for these women pushing the boundaries and breaking the rules, but I also think that’s reading more into this than may actually be there.
LL: Very interesting point about dressing one’s age, Vanessa. As the characters have gotten older and more successful, they all seem to be experiencing a Carrie convergence of sorts, but not all of them can wear those styles as naturally as Ms. Bradshaw, we’re seeing.
Another common thread connecting the two episodes released on Thursday: statement bags.
Already we’ve seen a bag-as-antisocial-rampart, a bag-as-seated-dining-companion, a bag-within-a-bag.
KVS: And the pigeon!
LL: We mustn’t forget our municipal mascot!
MMK: What do you think we’re in for as the season progresses? Anybody want to place your most insane bets now?
LL: Hope springs eternal, but I think we’re going to hear an actual joke out of Che Diaz this season.
VF: I’m betting on more Loewe or JW Anderson. It’s out there enough to read as “fun!” and “wacky!” in this context, while showing some actual insider fashion cred.
JA: Is it too much to envision Miranda rummaging through seaweed for the Microscopic Handbag by MSCHF?
KVS: And from within that pile of seaweed, our protagonists may finally-ish find their True Selves.
MMK: Now if only we could find that New York Times sweatshirt.
Vanessa Friedman, Louis Lucero II, Katie Van Syckle, Jeremy Allen, Madison Malone Kircher and Callie Holtermann contributed reporting.