Show of hands: who's been watching The Carrie Diaries? I have-- and my reaction is a mixed bag of sorts.
To begin with, I think Anna-Sophia Robb, the rookie actress who plays young Carrie, is precious. She’s the wide-eyed, pre-fabulous, ingénue version—the one who knows herself much less than adult Carrie did, but somehow manages to exude the same sense of wonder and the same brand of humor. Some critics kicked up a fuss about the discrepancies between her face and Sarah Jessica Parker’s—but, hey, that’s what hair and makeup are for. And speaking of hair, I think Anna-Sophia works those big, tight, ‘80s curls! It’s easy to imagine how, from there, she progressed into the natural-looking bedhead SJP rocked in 1998, when the original series began.
Being a huge fan of Sex and the City—I’ve seen all six seasons twice—I must admit that I was a little apprehensive about this prequel. It’s got different writers and a whole new set of characters (no Samantha, Miranda, or Charlotte), not to mention it targets a younger demographic (it’s produced by The CW, the same network that brought us Gossip Girl and 90210).
So, is it as witty and well-written as its predecessor? Not quite yet—some of the euphemisms could use a little work.
Does it exude the same feeling? Not exactly. The Carrie Diaries hinges on nostalgia and coming of age, and although teenaged Carrie still has those signature voiceovers, the show’s “voice” is completely its own.
Did I like it? Surprisingly, yes. It’s a fun, easy watch—and if you’re at least in your twenties, you’ll have a blast spotting Walkmans and clunky landline phones.
But here comes the hard part—how’s the fashion? Without giving away any spoilers, I’ll answer as honestly as I can. The show is set in 1984, when Carrie is fifteen years old and a junior in high school. In essence, she dresses like an impressionable girl who hasn’t yet hammered down her sense of the style. A few individual pieces are quite cute in the vintage sense, but taken as a whole, her outfits tap into the wacky, tacky trends of the ‘80s—the boxiest, poufiest, busiest ones. The costumes are designed by Eric Daman, who worked with the legendary Patricia Field on seasons two to four of SATC. He tells Glamour.com that he was aiming for “a symbiosis between teen Carrie and SATC Carrie without it being too obvious.” It’s up to you to decide if he was successful.
Scroll through the gallery to see Carrie’s teen wardrobe, and tell me: do you love it or loathe it?
(All screencaps, teasers, and promo photos from The Carrie Diaries courtesy of The CW)