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Exclusive: George D. Malkemus III talks new SJP x Nordstrom shoe collection

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On Feb. 26, Examiner.com was invited to a very intimate preview of actress Sarah Jessica Parker's new shoe collection called the "SJP Shoes collection by Sarah Jessica Parker," which was made in partnership with George D. Malkemus III and will be available exclusively at Nordstrom stores nationwide starting Feb. 28. The SJP Collection Pop Up Shop located in Soho on 372 West Broadway was so chic! The tea house inspired store was adorned in pale blush, bone, and pebble grey tones. It had comfy furniture that reminded us of the famous chair that united Aidan and Carrie in "Sex and The City."

The delicate decor allured guests to check out every piece of the collection. It included a cotton trench coat, three styles of handbags, and a full range of footwear. The most popular shoe was not surprisingly the "Carrie". Offered in purple, nude and black, the strappy leather mid heel offered a comfortable height as well as a timeless style. The heels also had a feminine touch in the back of them - a thin grosgrain ribbon insert that referenced Sarah Jessica Parker's love for grosgrain ribbons ever since she was six.

Parker was incredibly gracious to press and guests taking the time to answer questions and walk everyone through the collection. She also checked the fit and gave recommendations when guests tried on her shoe. She also autographed pairs of shoes and posed for photos with fans. Check the #SJPxNordstrom hashtag for highlights from the event on social media. With a competitive price point ranging from $195 to $485, and Italy as its country of origin, this collection has perfect classic pieces that will be useful season after season.

Our exclusive interview with Sarah Jessica Parker's business partner George D Malkemus III is below:

How did this collaboration come about?

George: One afternoon, Sarah Jessica Parker called me and said "I have a crazy idea, and I'm just going to throw it out there. Would you ever consider doing a line of shoes with me?" and I replied, "Can you be at my office tomorrow at 9 o'clock?" and that's how it happened and so she came to my office and we sat on the floor, ordered some chicken noodle soup and started talking about shoes, and ideas, and her favorite images of New York.

When she and I first came to New York in the mid 70s, we remembered the exact same kinds of shoes. It was all about Charles Jourdan, having a window full of pumps...It was this immediate connection with the world of Walter Steiger, of designers that were very popular designers at the time, and "designer" designers in terms of their price point. And then she said she wanted to do a collection of shoes that are made in Italy, which is the only place I will make shoes, except for the Espadrilles, which are made in Spain, and that cemented the relationship that the shoes were going to be beautiful quality, and something she was proud to put her name on. It would also be affordable to all 10 million women who followed her on "Sex and the City." It was a visual fantasy of what the woman would wear, and then we started putting things to paper and designing the collection of shoes.

Her involvement was so refreshing to me because a lot of celebrities lend their names to projects and then twenty assistants design a collection...She's not like that. She's involved from the very beginning - from a sketch on paper, to working with our guy that comes from Italy, this wonderful wonderful man, who makes our shoes in Tuscany....It's a hands-on collaboration and truly a passion. She is sincere, she is so respectful and thoughtful. She is everything you dream for in a partner and then also sometimes forgetting who she is because she's just so part of my life now and such a great friend that sometimes I forget that she's Sarah Jessica Parker!

Each shoe has a story, can you tell me about that?

George: Each shoe is based on a name that is important to her. The hardest shoe of course was the "Carrie." She went through shoes and shoes and shoes and shoes until she found the one that she wanted to name "The Carrie." That shoe is going to be iconic. We aren't going to go into a Nordstrom store - our exclusive partnership - and say "I didn't buy the Carrie last season, where is it?" It will always be there. It might be a different rendition, it might be suede, it might be white in the summertime, but it will always be part of her world. Her pump, the Fawn Pump, which is the pointed pump, will always be part of her world. The Lady, which is the softer toe pump, will always be part of her world, so that a woman who she always says spends her hard-earned dollars on a SJP shoes will be able to wear it and wear it and wear it and then replace it when she wants to replace it.

What has been the highlight of collaborating with Nordstrom on this?

George: Nordstrom started out many many years ago - many people don't know - as a shoe company...and then they over time became a specialty store, and now a luxury specialty store. But the family are true - there's a term in the business that people don't take the right way - but it's called shoe dogs, it's people who are dogged by shoes - that are obsessed with shoes! And the Nordstrom family is that family, their team is that team and she and I at the very same time, when we said who we were going to sell to...said Nordstrom...She launched her perfume, "Lovely" with Nordstrom, so her relationship goes back a long time, and I have always had great respect for Nordstrom.

We also spoke with Nordstrom spokesperson Pamela Lopez at the event.

Tell me about the event today?

We're really excited, this is the first time anyone has actually seen the shoes and they are going to get a chance to try them on, so we're thrilled with the reaction!

How did the collaboration with Nordstrom and Sarah Jessica Parker come about?

She and George had been talking about it for a while and they chose us, we're so thrilled to be partnering with her, she's such a fashion icon...So we were super-interested when they reached out to us.

Final thoughts?

We're open, all weekend. She's going to be making appearances everyday, 10AM on Friday, 3PM on Saturday and 11AM on Sunday. So come on down and take a look!

The SJP Collection is launching exclusively at Nordstrom stores and on Nordstrom.com on Feb 28. A Pop Up shop will be open in New York City from February 28 - March 2, located at 372 West Broadway. Sarah Jessica will be on hand each day at the Pop Up shop selling shoes and greeting customers. The Pop Up shop is a lead-in to a multi city tour in which Sarah Jessica will be making personal appearances at Nordstrom locations. The tour is from March 5 - March 9 and she will be making her way through Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Dallas respectively. At each location, Sarah Jessica will be meeting with customers and signing product.

Our friend Nikki Ogunnaike over at Glamour put together a great slideshow of the entire collection. You can view it here.

The SJP Collection will be available on Nordstrom.com and in the following stores:

California

Fashion Valley, San Diego
San Francisco Centre, San Francisco Santa Anita, Arcadia
South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa
The Grove, Los Angeles
Topanga, Canoga Park
Valley Fair, San Jose

Florida

Aventura, Aventura
International Plaza, Tampa
Village of Merrick Park, Coral Gables

Hawaii

Ala Moana, Honolulu

Illinois

Michigan Avenue, Chicago
Oakbrook Center, Oak Brook
Woodfield Shopping Center, Schaumburg

Massachusetts

Natick Mall, Natick

New Jersey

Cherry Hill, Cherry Hill Garden State Plaza, Paramus

New York

Manhattan Pop-Up, New York Roosevelt Field, Garden City

Oregon

Washington Square, Tigard

Tennessee

The Mall at Green Hills, Nashville

Texas

Houston Galleria, Houston NorthPark Center, Dallas

Virginia

The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, Arlington Tysons Corner Center, McLean

Washington

Downtown Seattle, Seattle

Estefania Garcia-Correa contributed reporting.

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