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November 21, 2017

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Style icon Sarah Jessica Parker talks about her new SJP boutique at Bellagio

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Jerry Metellus

Welcome to Vegas, SJP.

There’s a new color in Las Vegas and it’s sparkly. Bellagio Blue was born this week when actress, producer, entrepreneur and style icon Sarah Jessica Parker opened her SJP boutique, only her second standalone store after the first opened at Bellagio’s sister property MGM National Harbor in Maryland in December.

The bright new retail destination offers her label’s full collection of shoes, handbags and accessories, including the exclusive-to-Vegas Bellagio Blue collection in various shoe styles and the lovely Ladybird clutch, a twinkling night bag that holds up to five cell phones at once. That might actually be necessary when you’re out in Las Vegas.

I was first in line to talk to the “Sex and the City” starlet on Monday about the fashionable growth of SJP, bringing her brand to Vegas and shooting a new movie in 16 days on the streets of New York.

Was there less stress opening this second SJP boutique after doing it eight months ago at MGM National Harbor? Sincerely, it’s been very exciting. I think there’s always stress when you’re a new business and taking steps that risky for everybody financially. But it deserves to be anxious-making. It’s worthy of being nervous, and I like that feeling. I think when people invest in you, it’s best to take it seriously. There’s something nice about having the nerves accompany this, but maybe I operate better nervous.

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SJP Boutique at Bellagio.

How different is this Bellagio store from the first? Did you feel the need to blow it out for Vegas? I think we did. It’s not that much bigger but it definitely feels significantly bigger—this one wraps around so there are actually separate spaces. The two Fawn walls [wall-sized displays of SJP’s “Fawn” high heels] represent our version of dialing it up for Vegas, sort of indulging the party more. Vegas is like this sovereign nation, this place that operates under a different set of rules, and we want to live by them.

I think everyone is going to grab one of those cellphone cases that have the image of that wall of heels. That image started on our shopping bag. When my partner George Malkemus traveled to Palm Beach he found this old vintage Lucite stacker and had the brilliant idea to showcase the backs of the shoes. It’s such a great example of figuring out your brand and growing it. And we want to make sure everyone who walks in the door can access a piece of it, even if our median price is significant.

You’ve been involved in so many big campaigns for so many different big brands throughout your career. When did you first feel like a true designer instead of just the face of a campaign? This business has been much more of that experience. My fragrance [line] is something I’ve been very involved in, as much as this, but I’m not an owner. When you have your own business you’re financing and you’re not taking a paycheck but always putting into it, it’s just a different experience. I know every inch of it, what’s needed and what’s not, and I can have a very different experience with our retail partners and the people at MGM, and be a part of righting wrongs and helping remedy things. But those other experiences and partnerships, however limited, have been invaluable to me because I’ve been surrounded by really smart people sharing with me what they do and why.

Are more SJP stores coming to new cities soon? Well, we have two stores now that are still so new, and we have to make sure we’re present—especially here because [Vegas] is the other side of the country so we need to be here as much as possible. We’re being encouraged to grow within the MGM family and also in New York. People have been generous offering retail space but I think the challenge is to stay focused and not be seduced by other opportunities. There are lots of cautionary tales about growing a business too fast.

And what about your day job? You just finished shooting the second season of your HBO series “Divorced.” We just finished and we’re close to finishing post-production on “Divorced,” and I shot a movie right after which was intense. No days off. But it was an amazing experience to shoot a movie in 16 days in New York, kind of thrilling. It’s a beautiful movie and cast … Simon Baker, Taylor Kinney, Renée Zellweger, Gus Birney, Jacqueline Bisset and Common. The script is so exquisite, and Rufus Wainwright wrote all the music.

SJP at Bellagio is located in the Promenade retail corridor and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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