Above: Actor Sarah Jessica Parker with longtime friend and interior designer Eric Hughes.
It was history in the making—and nostalgia as it happened: In the long-awaited And Just Like That sequel, Carrie Bradshaw signs off episode eight with an image no viewer will forget: Our beloved heroine is perched on her open apartment windowsill, donning the iconic Versace Mille Feuille gown with a pan of Jiffy Pop popcorn. But this time, the backdrop is almost as memorable as the $80,000 dress: an expanse of oversize teal-carnation wallpaper.
“It felt like it was breaking rules,” actor Sarah Jessica Parker (who played Carrie Bradshaw) tells us. “We hadn’t seen flowers that big, and we hadn’t seen colors used that way. So it felt very Carrie, who, for better or worse, makes bold choices and lives by them and doesn’t apologize or really care if people don’t understand.”
While the archived atelier gown might be a bit beyond the layperson’s reach, the wallpaper—as of this week—is not. Parker is launching a line alongside her longtime interior designer and Wallshoppe co-creative director, Eric Hughes. Launching exclusively at Wallshoppe today, the Sarah Jessica Parker & Wallshoppe collection comprises a line of 15 prints in 193 variations that are some of the prettiest wallcoverings around.
From playful plaids to refined florals to bold graphics, the line is a reverie of, well, “Sarah Jessica”—which is really a category of its own. “Sarah Jessica’s eye and her design sensibility is so specific to her in the most beautiful way,” says Hughes. “It’s her own personal style. And you see it in everything she does and in the way she dresses and the way that her homes are made.”
The collection is the brainchild of a 35-year friendship that began when Parker first hired Hughes (as featured in ELLE DECOR’s October 2006 issue) to decorate a home for her and her husband, Matthew Broderick, and their burgeoning family on Long Island. “There was a moment when I left the film business and I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Hughes says. “Sarah Jessica presented this idea of decorating this home for her. She saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself at the time, which was that I could take this passion for design and turn it into a career.”
In the three decades since Hughes took on that first project, he has carried out numerous high-profile commissions, made the ELLE DECOR A-List, and joined Wallshoppe, a Los Angeles–based outfit that specializes in wallpaper—a shared passion that he and Parker started mulling over while he was redesigning Broderick’s home in New York’s West Village during the Covid lockdown.
They had the luxury of time, and the collection evolved organically, Hughes says. “She would take some of [the patterns] and turn them around and then throw them back at me and in the best sort of way not settle until the perfect design and color was set upon. And once it was there, it was like, Oh my God, this is fantastic.”
The wallpaper’s famous debut in Carrie’s old apartment in And Just Like That is just one more delicious little piece that came from this collaboration. “There was a huge amount of urgency to get the [set] apartment done,” Parker says. “We were struggling with our beautiful production designer and on-set decorator to find important pieces that would tell an interesting visual story but also be true to Carrie and her taste.”
Parker, of course, called Hughes in. “I brought in the carnation wallpaper, and someone suggested that we make them double scale and pump up the volume so they really read,” Hughes says. “And they did. I mean, it was magic. That room is just so incredible.”
In the months following, the duo devised an entire collection, including a host of floral patterns: chrysanthemums, Queen Anne’s lace, which Parker says remind her of the florals that grow wildly near her home on Long Island, and of course—carnations. “I know carnations are thought of as a grandma flower and are not these rare, hard-to-get-your-hands-on flowers,” Parker says. “But to me, they’re timeless. They’re full of volume and color, very polite, and traditional without being necessarily old-fashioned.”
Several patterns are a new twist on common household items. “I love books,” Parker says. “I love their simplicity and functionality, but also the way people use them and hand them down.” Same for bells, she says. “They’re charming and funny, but extremely delicate and graceful. And when was the last time anybody put a bunch of bells on wallpaper?”
It’s the collection’s vibrant colorways, however, that take these quotidian objects to the next level. The carnations, for instance, come in a luminous magenta or a teal peacock. Patterns like dotted swiss, grosgrain, and rickrack are turned on their heads in preppy neons and saturated jewel tones. Parker’s trademark chicken-wire pattern—seen across her shoe line and perfume packaging—shows up in an unexpected neon pink and candy green. “This collaboration really pushed us to go for colors that were outside of the standard colors that Wallshoppe had produced up until that time,” Hughes says.
The wallpaper, which is sustainably printed in Los Angeles, is available as traditional, removable, and kraft wallpaper. Parker says she hopes the range of options for application will inspire people to make some bold color choices and think about using color in a way they haven’t thought of before. “I always thought wallpaper was a product for the rarified few, and it was complicated,” she says. “I hope we can communicate through what we’re offering that this is for everybody.”
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