In March of 2007, The Budget Fashionista broke the news that Sarah Jessica Parker (aka Carrie from Sex and The City) was designing a line called “Bitten.” The line would be sold at discount sportswear retailer Steve and Barry’s and launched as a fashion blind item during fashion week.
The Jury is Out
First let me say, I really want to like this line and will save my full assessment when it appears in stores. However, based on the pictures, the Bitten line looks pretty uneventful. It actually looks a lot like the stuff she was hawking for GAP.
Again, I want to like this line. I really do. However, most of the people who shop at Steve & Barry’s are at the fashion 101 level. And this line seems to be more fashion 201. It has none of the easy urban style of Madonna’s line at H&M and none of the creative basic look of Isaac Mizrahi at Target. I am also pretty skeptical of the overly touched up pictures, which is usually sign of low-quality garments.
That being said, the Bitten line does feature cute basics, like wide-leg khaki trousers, basic black tops, black dresses, accessories etc. — many priced under $19.95.
But when I think of Sarah Jessica Parker, I don’t think of basics. I think of quirky style, interesting patterns, strange mixtures, etc. I’m not sure if this line will feature these elements of her “public” personal style.
And that leads me to ask this question. Is SJP’s style really her own style or that of a good stylist (hello Patricia Fields)?
Bitten Launch on Oprah
Two months after we broke the news about Bitten, the line made its public debut on Oprah. Before I write a review of the presentation of the Bitten by Sarah Jessica Parker line on today’s Oprah, I want to clear up some misconceptions.
Thoughts on SJP
I like Sarah Jessica Parker, but she isn’t the patron saint of budget shoppers. She made a smart business move and has excellent PR people who know how to push your buttons to get you to buy. We do need more bargain shopping options and I am glad that Steve & Barry’s is providing it.
I like Steve & Barry’s. In fact, I was just there about a month ago, because Tobias begged me to buy him a pair of Starbury shoes.
I get the impression that many of you feel that celebrities like SJP are doing you a favor when they “design” these lines. While I’m positive SJP and Stephon Marbury care about consumers, they are producing these lines because they make money.
I also think there’s this major misconception involving fashion bloggers. We’re not necessarily “fashion insiders,” but we’re not “fashion outsiders” either. We go to fashion week, visit the showrooms of major designers, write books published by major publishers, work as TV correspondents, and shop at stores like Steve & Barry’s.
Now that this is cleared up, on to Bitten.
Sarah Jessica Parker’s Bitten Line
Ask yourself if Sarah Jessica Parker’s name was removed from the line, would you still buy it? If someone other than celebrity created this line, would the line have been on Oprah?
The one thing that separates the Bitten by Sarah Jessica Parker line from the other celebrity lines is that the sizing (2-22) reflects the true sizing range of America. This is why I wanted to like the line.
I also find the $20 coats to be refreshing (I will probably buy one).
But, and this is just based upon what I saw on Oprah and my discussions with people who have seen the line and work with Steve & Barry, the line really isn’t anything new. When Isaac Mizrahi did a line with Target, that was new. When Stephon Marbury wore the $14.98 Starbury basketball shoes in NBA basketball games, that was something new.
Take away sizing from the Bitten and you can get all those pieces from stores like Old Navy, Mandee, Marianne, Payless, Forever 21, etc. Plus, the quality may leave a lot to be desired. The seams appear wavy (a sign of poor stitching) and the front of the pants were bunchy on the models. Go back and watch the segment and notice how every pair of pants bunched in the front and how the seams on the pants didn’t lie flat.
It is my hope that the next batch of clothing from the line will step it up on the quality front.
But what I noticed the most was the lukewarm enthusiasm shown by the Oprah audience. I watch Oprah everyday and when the audience loves something, they LOVE it. They seemed pretty unmoved by the Bitten line. At one point, Oprah responded to a lukewarm reception of the audience to a knit dress with “Come on it’s $14 dollars.”
Compare that to the audience’s reaction regarding the truly impressive bridal dresses by Isaac Mizrahi at Target and you see what I mean.
All in all, this line will be a success, because people still confuse personal style with that created by a stylist. People will also buy because of the continued popularity and strength of SJP’s Sex and the City character. But again, ask yourself…if her name was removed from the line, would you even be reading this right now?
Like so many celeb lines, Bitten has bitten the dust. Today, if you want Sarah Jessica Parker designs, you need to check out SJP which is primarily shoes and handbags. You can also find a few Bitten pieces on ThredUp and Poshmark.
Thanks for stopping by! I'm Catherine, your Budget Fashionista style editor. I'm a bargain shopper at heart, as I love nice things but hate paying for them! I'm also a personal finance writer who's been featured on USA Today and MSN Money.