“Honesty is not brutal. Dishonesty is brutal.”
Patricia Field’s life is undergoing major change. She, however, is not.
Sitting on a sparkling turquoise cube in a dressing room at her iconic New York shop – which she is closing after 50 years in business — the crimson-haired style curator and “Sex and the City” costumer held court one January morning. A team from Getty Images prepared the space for a portrait shoot, but they couldn’t help but be drawn to her presence while they worked.
Was it because outsiders and rebels are having a pop cultural moment? Perhaps. More likely though, it was that they found Field’s call-it-as-she-sees-it confidence beguiling as ever. Just shy of 75, her frankness — and by default, her magnetism — only have improved with age.
“Some say I’m brutally honest,” she said. “I hate that phrase. I never understood how you can hook up brutality and honesty. Honesty is not brutal. Dishonesty is brutal.”
Field was gregarious in her interactions with the crew, but she looked fierce. Wearing an inky scarf, sleek black jumpsuit and black leather sleeves that exposed her bare olive shoulders, Field mused about politics, corporations and of course, fashion.
“I’m often asked about trends,” she said. “I will not engage. I’m not going to talk to you about flare bottoms or skinny legs. … I don’t want to be in that environment of brainwash.”
It’s an environment she has shunned for years.
A destination for rock stars, club kids, artists and other nonconformists, her eponymous store evolved over time to stand for much more than commerce. It represented the exact opposite of an “environment of brainwash,” where people could purchase the kinds of items that would bring their fantasy vision of themselves into real-life focus: multicolored wigs, vintage sweaters, leather harnesses, extreme platform heels, not to mention accessories galore – including the iconic name plate necklaces made famous by Sarah Jessica Parker’s “Sex and the City” character Carrie.
But most of all, and possibly the most powerful antidote to brainwash, her store provided a connection to real people, in real time.
“It’s real. It’s the street,” she said. “It’s why I love my world of the store. I call it, ‘truth in retail.’
“I’m a big advocate of the truth,” she said. “Me and Socrates.”
“I’m naming them not because they’re famous, but because I respect them and I care for them,” she said. “It’s personal. Something strikes the chord of respect with me. It’s not fashion, it’s the person. It’s realness. It’s not hype.”Still drop-dead gorgeous and a total badass: See the stunning portraits from our Patricia Field shoot.