Two Italians, Amedeo Scognamiglio and Roberto Faraone Mennella, have designed some of the most iconic jewels seen on the set of Sex & the City. Here we tell you how the collaboration was born and some rumors that (perhaps) you do not know
What happened to the protagonists of Sex & the City? We know that the reboot will not have the presence of Samantha Jones, a news that fuel the numerous rumors about the quarrel off the set between Kim Kattrall and Sarah Jessica Parker. Between TV series and movies, the four friends from New York City have certainly marked more than one generation with their style very american. Daring, colorful, creative, a mètissage of garments and accessories that only the stylist Patricia Field could match, thus consecrating some labels internationally. Among these there is also an Italian name: Pharaoh Mennellto. The designer Roberto, founding partner of the brand together with his friend Amedeo Scognamiglio, left us last year too prematurely: a void that still resonates when it comes to contemporary jewelry and Italian creativity.
To remember his immense work, on the wave of the enthusiasm of the new Sex & the City, we interviewed own Amedeo Scognamiglio who retraced the stages of success with us, between intuition and destiny.
You already confessed to us in our previous interview that it was Sarah Jessica Parker who contacted you in person to Sex & the City. What is the jewel that made you fall in love?
Remember well, it was Sarah Jessica Parker herself who phoned me late one night at home in NYC. I struck her for a gift she received: a pin of mine, called Sisters because it represented two sisters, engraved side by side on a carnelian shell cameo. He in no way expected anyone to answer the phone at 11pm, knowing this was an office. Sarah simply wanted to leave a message on the answering machine to ask to see the whole collection. I answered instead. The first 60 seconds I was incredulous. Then we were pleasantly chatting for about half an hour. He told me about his love for cameos, linked to beautiful childhood memories: you should know that his grandmother’s jewel was passed to each other for important occasions.
What was it like working with Patricia Field?
At the end of the call, Sarah Jessica Parker begged me to meet her at SilverCup Studios in Brooklyn, where the series was filmed, to show her other pieces to use on set. But, as in any paradoxical situation destined to become a legend, I lose my phone numbers and with them any possible contact with the most popular star of the moment. But, one evening a few months later, while walking through New York City with Roberto, returning home from a dinner, fate came to our aid: we came across a set of Sex & the City, right in front of the trailer that said ‘ ‘Sex & TheCity Wardrobe’. That was how we met Patricia Field: in the middle of the night, on 64th Street between Park Avenue and Lexington Avenue. It was early 2002.
A memory or a curiosity from that period that you want to tell our readers …
Working with Pat (Patricia, ed) is like a full immersion in the most iconic New York between fashion, art and pop culture. She is a unique woman, without equal, with a deep intelligence and a great culture. He is not of many words, but he has a great humanity. Her sense of fashion is not linked to trends or big brands, but to what happens on the streets of NYC: she looks with attention and interest at the very young, often ran away from home, estranged from the same families for their diversity, and from welcomed her as children. Pat does not follow fashion, but tells it, from the observatory of her home in the lower east side: there are drag queens, celebrities, artists, and young people in search of fame but with star personalities.
Can you remind us of some scenes with the jewels designed by you and Roberto Faraone Mennella?
Perhaps the best memory, after so many years, remains that of Roberto and me outside the Plaza, waiting for Sarah Jessica Parker to come out of the hotel, cross the square to the Paris cinema, and say her line. We were next to the director, Michael Patrick King and the producer, John Melfi, behind the cameras. Years later at dinner they told us that at the time they didn’t understand that we were jewelry designers, they thought we were ‘‘the cute italian groupies on the set’! Behind us, as in the stadium, on the other sidewalk of 5th avenue, there was an oceanic crowd of fans who, as soon as Sarah came out, began to shout loudly, as if they were there for the concert of a great pop star . It felt like being in a theater, not on a movie set. Roby and I looked into each other’s eyes and smiled, thinking ” How is it possible that we are here !? ”. And it was just the beginning …
What do you think is a jewel that represents each protagonist?
Among the many, there are two scenes that are the most iconic that then automatically made the jewels themselves famous. The first, titled “ Anchors Away ”, aired in 2002, sees the real debut of Faraone Mennella with Samantha wearing our Stella earrings in turquoise: the iconicity of that scene, the fact that it was the first episode of the new season after 11 September 200 and therefore super expected, catapulted us into the Olympus of luxury and of the American fashion press, and therefore of the world. I still remember with joy how the New York Times described the earrings, calling them “the consideration in jewelry for Manolo’s shoes; objects that today identify a generation that grew up with Sex & the City“. The second belongs instead to the film. A very long scene – almost all in the foreground – in which Carrie phones Samantha to tell her that Big has asked her to marry her. The two friends are on the phone, and Samantha is wearing our “Samantha” earrings, truly “in your face” for size. We designed and made them in our NYC showroom specifically for that sequence. I’ll tell you a funny anecdote. Pat wanted “big hoops” for Samantha, who she always imagined very sexy but also very “rich”. Of all our big hoops she always replied “bigger, bigger!”. One day she saw two bracelets, took them in her hand and he leaned them to his ear saying in a theatrical way “This big!” Roberto, laughing with emotion, said “wait a second”. He whispered in my ear “hold her, distract her for 10 minutes!”And immediately took them to our laboratory, inside our own showroom. Very soon he returned with a triumphant ride from our long corridor, exclaiming “Here they are!“. Pat, with his usual philosophical phlegm, looked at them and said “That’s it, bravo! I’ll take them!“. Even today, despite being born for the cinema, only apparently theatrical and therefore less practical, they are among our best sellers.
An iconic jewel for every protagonist …
Pat has always had a very clear idea of the show’s 4 protagonists, and she is absolutely the only creator of this iconic moment in the history of cinema and fashion, no one else. I am personally grateful to Carrie for helping me “rejuvenate” the cameo as an idea, too tied to an old image of souvenirs of Italy: with the character of Sarah Jessica Parker the cameo is finally cleared through customs, and if later my collections have been exhibited by Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Harrods, Saks5thAvenue, Dover Street Market, and my jewels worn by Rihanna and Spike Lee…. I owe it to her for sure! Samantha, the rich and sexy woman, a lover of her freedom but still tied to the wildest luxury of the big brands such as a Hermès bag or the iconic shoes of Giuseppe Zanotti, another great friend of Pat Field; Samantha earrings will forever be our tribute to that character and to what it represents in the iconography of fashion and cinema; Charlotte is the typical young woman of the upper east side: rich, traditional, terribly afraid of the limits of bon ton, wasp in all. I particularly remember a scene from Sex & the City 2 in which, on a camel in the desert, she wears our Stella earrings. Charlotte is Bergdorf Goodman’s typical customer: If it’s from Bergdorfs it’s chic.
And finally Miranda, the career lawyer who cannot dare too much in her professional uniform look, linked to the rigid canons of corporate america, does not go further than a pair of ” button ” earrings or a not too showy gold chain.
In these hours the web is in turmoil for the next 10 episodes that will be shot, without Kim Kattrall. What happened to them after all these years?
As for the new series, although I only discussed it a year ago with its producer, our great friend after all these years, I think it arrives at the right time: there is a need for lightness, new enthusiasm, love stories. and confidences between friends. We need to talk to the generation of 18 and 20 who weren’t there when the first series debuted, but who now breathe it in the fashions they have absorbed in recent years. They, just them, now need a new Sex & the City, and dream of their own NYC to live like one of those four girls.