I imagine me and my housemates are not the only students in Cambridge waiting each week with baited breath for the newest episode of The Undoing, Sky Atlantic’s latest thriller, starring an impassive Nicole Kidman, alongside Hugh Grant in his slimiest role to date. However, with every episode I find myself less pressed with worries of “Who-dunnit?” and “Wait which one is he again?” than “What is with that coat?”

The item in question, which has prompted Vogue articles and Twitter memes alike, is a lime-green, textured velour nightmare, complete with a shapeless hood for those all important Sherwood Forest vibes. More cape than coat, it cloaks Kidman (as Manhattan Elite Grace Fraser) in a sort of Last Minute Costume For A Very Bad AmDram Shakespeare Production look, even more tragic than her unravelling marriage, and hogs the screen as she dons it for school runs, late night walks and even to faint (tastefully!) in the snow in Central Park.

“If New York is - as often remarked - the fifth protagonist of the series, then fashion must be the sixth”

New York is always going to be the perfect setting for fabulous winter wear, but as far as I’m concerned, this pseudo-bohemian, witchy number falls short of the mark, and perhaps offers an explanation for the look of perpetual dejection that haunts Kidman’s face in each and every close-up; she too is painfully aware of its kitsch vulgarity. In fact, maybe the reason its failings are so upsetting is that it sits - sore-thumbed and sheepish - among all the frankly excellent examples of Big Apple overcoats on the small screen, from Friends to Gossip Girl to Mad Men. But of course, as ever and always will be, nothing comes close to Sex and the City.

If New York is - as often remarked - the fifth protagonist of the series, then fashion must be the sixth; protagonist Carrie asserts, “Women come to New York for two Ls: labels and love”. For those not in the know, the cult series, which ran from 1998 to 2004, follows four female friends (Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha) as they navigate their professional and personal lives in Manhattan. And - my god - do they look good while doing it. From pinstripe suits to teal two-pieces to a painfully spectacular Dolce & Gabbana floral dress, the show often feels more runway than romcom. Hailed as the most fashion-forward TV of its time, Sex and the City not only followed but created trends, a legacy still celebrated to this day in magazine articles, video essays, and even Instagram accounts (see: the truly delightful @everyoutfitonsatc).

So forget ‘Are you a Carrie or a Miranda?’, would you rather wear Charlotte’s trim pink jacket or Samantha’s sapphire, boa-lined number? Iconic and (as clear from more than a handful of episodes, as well as the credit sequence) tutu-obsessed stylist, Patricia Field, recalls that she “told Darren [Star, Sex and the City’s creator] that if the show was a hit, we’d need something completely original—not of that season or a certain time,” and this aim - in a series punctuated by mesmerically silken New York winters - certainly extends to its outerwear.

Nowhere is this more striking than in the iconic Season 2 opener ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’, in which the girls catch a match at the Yankee Stadium. Sprawled over several rows of seats in a now notorious shot, all four don sunglasses and heels, warmed by cigarette smoke and a marvellous array of fur coats. It’s purple lined for Charlotte, leopard print for Samantha, black quarter zip for Miranda and - always taking the lead - a dramatic, shaggy cut, finished off with a wonderfully oversized collar, for Carrie. Kidman could never.

No rundown of SATC’s styling is complete without reference to this last item, otherwise known as the coat to end all coats. It first appeared in season one, and became the ultimate layering piece for Field and fellow costume designer Rebecca Weinberg, who explained “When you love something, like that coat, you say, ‘Okay, this is something Carrie is going to rotate a lot’”. Originally borrowed from Chelsea-based designer resale store Ina, it was soon sold to the costume department for just $200, a price Carrie herself - famed for her eye for bargains - would surely have been unable to resist. Commendations must also go to Charlotte’s leather jacket, perfectly paired with a turtleneck and slicked back ponytail, as well as Miranda’s seemingly bottomless range of tailored suit jackets, always the slickest of young professional non-uniforms.


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And so, one can only imagine what Carrie Bradshaw and her friends would make of Grace Fraser’s coat. Ok, Sex and the City certainly endured its own array of fashion faux-pas, but even in all its glitz, they would surely agree The Cape goes too far. It is Kidman’s (likely outrageously overpriced) undoing, and another brick in the wall of the rocky relationship between fashion and Manhattan. One of the greatest Bradshawian witticisms springs to mind: “I like my money where I can see it – hanging in my closet”. Perhaps Grace would do well to put the green coat at the very back of hers, and leave it there.