She told us so herself.
Months ago we showed up at a huge studio in Lower Manhattan for a last minute interview with the one and only Sarah Jessica Parker. She was filming the commercial for her very hush-hush, not yet announced new fragrance, and today, we finally get to let the cat out of the bag—it’s here! And it’s called Stash. To hear Parker tell it, which she did, her tiny self perched on a director’s chair as she dabbed a sample on our wrists, she’s been working on the perfume ever since she first launched Lovely when she was fresh of her days as Carrie Bradshaw. And unlike that very pink thing she’s had going on with her other fragrances, this one is all about leather, cognac and, yes, body odor. “It’s old and sexy, like a sweater from a guy who was on the Eurorail too long or something.” That was only one of the first things she told us. She’s nothing if not a great conversationalist—and as our chat went on, she jumped from her daily uniform (shockingly, not an Oscar de la Renta gown), to her very real reading addiction, to how she copes with anxiety. Shit got real. And yes, Stash smells amazing—it is sexy men on the Eurorail in the best way possible.
She has no rules when it comes to fragrance application:
“I just put so much of it on—it’s gross. I’m sure it offends some people. I literally put it everywhere. Everything gets it—my parka, my hat, clothes. I was saying to Jon Dinapoli, our creative director, that Stash requires a little a more aggressive application on your skin but it stays on your skin and clothes so well—which I personally love. I love walking into a closet and smelling fragrance.”
How men on the Eurorail inspired her to create Stash:
“Can you smell like, all the smoke? All the dark wood and body odor. It’s old and sexy, like a sweater from a guy who was on the Eurorail too long or something. Do you know what I mean?
“I knew that I wanted a teeny bit of cognac, a teeny bit of leather, a teeny bit of body odor. We started working on this back when Lovely came out and nobody was ready for it. They were like, ‘genderless doesn’t work, there’s nothing like that on the market’—and then I watched it happen. So I started working on [Stash] with the people that I worked on with Lovely and they sorted it out. I really wanted it to smell personal, that it could be adaptable, which is a very hard thing for fragrance. Fragrance tends to be super surface-y and it can wear you… and then someone hugs you and then you smell like them.
“Now that I have enough of this, and not just samples, it’s all I’ve been wearing, I kid you not.”
Even SJP has a daily uniform (and it’s as basic as yours):
“I’m almost always wearing jeans and a gray sweatshirt. That is very much my uniform and the more I’ve committed to it and the more I feel comfortable, the more liberated I feel by that. I spend so much time and so many hours of my life dressing up, which I love—I still love being fitted for a really special dress, and I still love an occasion or a red carpet that’s meaningful to me or a friend; I’m not jaded about that or cynical at all. But what I wear every single day and to work and what I’ll wear tonight to my husband’s birthday party is exactly this.
“My go-to jeans are Frame—I love them so much! They have a little bit of stretch and I like the wash. I like how they fit—I wear them for days and days and don’t wash them. And a sweatshirt from—I have four of them—Alternative Apparel. It’s literally all I wear. And then I have a couple of black jumpers. I have some other things when it’s required. I would never go to an important restaurant or to somebody’s home and be breaking rules that are meaningful to other people. It’s a far more relaxed world that we live in now. It’s kind of nice to think, like, I’m going to a nice restaurant, maybe I will wear that black peplum skirt and my gray sweatshirt! And some heels. But I feel like that’s dressy, you know? Or a proper blouse and a black peplum skirt? Perfect.”
Her morning routine:
“It’s different every day. With kids I’m getting them up and taking them to school. For the last four to five months, I’ve been getting up at 3:30 in the morning for work. I have coffee, look at the news, shudder at what I’m seeing and hearing, answer a lot of emails, shower, brush my teeth, add fragrance, lip balm and I’m out the door because I get to work and I undress again. And I always have something to read with me, I always have a book.”
So what is she reading exactly?
“Right now I’m reading the new Don DeLillo book, Zero K. It’s really, really interesting. I was reminded—because I hadn’t read a Don DeLillo book in so long—that I always admired him. When I was younger, I always waited for the next Don DeLillo book and I remember White Noise. This book reminded me of how much he asks of us as a reader. He’s challenging… It’s an intense experience. He assumes you’re smart, which is amazing, but it’s chilly. Right before that I read the new Patrick Flanery novel called I Am No One. I have a book club and we get early manuscripts and then we can talk about them and try and support our writers and small local bookstores and libraries. But Patrick Flanery, he’s such a great author and he’s super bright. It’s a difference experience than the Don DeLillo. Two great authors, challenging in their own way.”
Getting real about mental health:
“I have to develop coping mechanisms for my mental well-being because a lot of what I do is, you know, nervous-making. Being an actor, to some, might seem silly, like grown-up people playing in a sandbox, but it’s actually incredibly nervous-making. If you care about it, it provides for a lot of anxiety. This new show, Divorce, that I’ve been working on for a long time—I’m producing it and I’m playing the woman in it—it’s a lot. And then there’s my kids and how my son feels about himself after a science test, my husband’s sense of himself and how it’s not my business, but I care. My mental wellness is reliant on me figuring out how to cope. I’m also on the other hand not afraid of feeling anxious, I just want to know that I can handle my nerves or my anxiousness, or disappointment or sadness about myself or friends and family members.”
How she deals with anxiety:
“I used to not ever tell anybody because I thought that too many people were reliant on me to not be anxious, like they were all looking at me to make them feel better. Like anything, until the minute you talk about something it feels like as if you are a balloon that’s been blown up and you have too much air in you. You just need somebody to let a little out. So now I’m much better at saying that I have a lot of nervousness over a situation that makes me anxious. I think work can be complicated, so making sure everyone can be heard, and being a good collaborator [is important]. I just try to listen to everybody and hear them and make sure they know that I’m wanting to hear them.”
SJP’s version of meditation:
“Reading a good book and House Hunters International. I can’t tell you how many books I read in one season of Divorce. People were making fun of me, but it’s what I do to stay focused and calm in between takes… Even as far back as Hocus Pocus they’d be flying me around and I’d be in the ceiling of the studio, sixty or eighty or however many feet up in the air, and I could fold The New York Times and tuck it in my corset. I would be up in a flying saddle, reach under my corset and pull out the Times in between takes. People ask me, ‘what do you like about this new bag,’ and I’m like, ‘It fits The New Yorker! It fits a book!’”
Stash officially launches on Sunday, August 28th at Ulta.