They do now. Ever since Field, 58, turned the libido-driven HBO comedy into television's hottest catwalk, no one is second-guessing her fashion savvy. She has helped turn Jimmy Choo and Dolce & Gabbana into household names and put the show's fashions on the street, thanks to her Greenwich Village shop, which bears her name and sells designer labels as well as Field's own line of blue jeans and such signature Sex items as Carrie's gold name-plate necklace. "The clothes are like another character in the show," says Nixon. "They help make it real." Which led producers from Spin City and The Street to seek out Field's expertise as well. "They expect something over-the-top from her," says Sex and the City wardrobe supervisor Molly Rogers. "Pat delivers."
To do so, Field trolls showrooms and shops worldwide. Parker's Carrie "mixes anything from thrift store to designer," explains Field. "Samantha [Kim Cattrall] is sexy '80s. Miranda is straightforward. And I'd like to see Charlotte [Kristin Davis] more as the sexy secretary."
Field grew up in Manhattan, where her parents, Mary and Henry Haig, both now deceased, ran a dry-cleaning shop. "I learned all the good fabrics," Field recalls. Says her only sibling, Joan Czechowski, a school principal: "I would see her go to school with her black leather skirt and tights. She always looked terrific."
After attending New York University and learning the retail ropes at Alexander's department store, Field opened her first boutique in 1966. Twenty years later, at a friend's suggestion that she also try costuming, Field landed a film, Lady Beware, and "really took to it," she recalls. In 1990 she met then-actress Rebecca Weinberg, 31, who became her romantic partner and assistant (and used to go by her last name). The pair met Sarah Jessica Parker while working on her 1995 film Miami Rhapsody, and Parker touted them to Sex and the City's producers, who already had the team in mind. Of Parker, Field says, "She's got such good taste." The actress often brings her own finds, like silk flower corsages, to work. "She's the fifth costume designer of the show," says Field, who shares two assistants with Weinberg.
And while Field and Weinberg have recently split as a couple, professionally "we are still a team," says Field, who will soon move from the loft apartment above her store into roomier digs nearby. "I'm going to put in a Plexiglas addition to make it like a jewel box," she says. As for Sex, red, white and blue is a possibility. "I've been thinking Americana!" says Field with a gleam in her eye.
Natasha Stoynoff in New York City