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Look of the Week: Why the internet is cooing over Sarah Jessica Parker’s pigeon purse

Leah Dolan, CNN

On Wednesday, paparazzi shots of Sarah Jessica Parker and Kristin Davis filming scenes from the second season of the HBO Max series “And Just Like That…” ricocheted across the internet. (HBO Max is owned by CNN’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery.)

In her role as Carrie Bradshaw, Parker was spotted dressed in a khaki boiler suit, vintage Dior sandals and harboring a peculiar creature in the crook of her elbow: A pigeon. A sneak peek of her look was also unveiled on @andjustlikethatcostumes — an Instagram page curated “And Just Like That…” costume designers Molly Rogers and Danny Santiago, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the characters’ wardrobes for more than 200,000 followers.

Keen-eyed fashion lovers soon clocked the bird as an $854 clutch bag from designer JW Anderson’s Fall-Winter 2022 collection. The life-size, 3D-printed pigeon purse opens via its right wing to reveal a space just large enough to fit an iPhone and perhaps a wallet. “AJLT S2 Carrie with the JW Anderson pigeon clutch and a Fendi ankle baguette is perfection,” tweeted London-based fashion editor Hannah Tindle, “absolutely zero comments.”

While some drew comparisons to the “pigeon man” from ’90s childrens cartoon “Hey Arnold,” most — including fashion industry insiders — cooed over the actor’s bird bag. “SJP carrying the JW pigeon clutch makes me happy lol,” wrote one Twitter user. “Starting off the season with the pigeon is already iconic,” added another fan on Instagram.

And for long-time fans of the “Sex and the City” franchise, the purse is more evidence of Carrie Bradshaw’s reputation as a dopamine dresser: prioritizing clothes that spark joy — for both the internet and herself. While some are afraid of amassing too many sartorial bookmarks, pursuing instead “timeless” pieces that promise to never date, Bradshaw has always embodied an eclectic and imperfect sense of style.

There is a long lineage of head-scratching purses, hats and other accessories worn by the fictional columnist over the years — a purse modeled after a horse head (“Sex and the City” season four, episode one) a crystal-encrusted Judith Leiber swan purse (“Sex and the City” season two, episode ten), an eiffel tower Timmy Woods bag (“Sex and the City,” 2008) and — continuing the avian theme — the blue bird of paradise fascinator she wore to her wedding a few scenes later in the movie.

While Parker is one of the first celebrities to be seen with Anderson’s piece out in the wild — singer Sam Smith did wear the bag to the Harris Reed Spring-Summer 2023 show during London Fashion Week last month — quirky bags are having a moment. At Paris Fashion Week, Balenciaga presented a leather tote bag complete with a built-in shoulder-height glove, as well as a clutch shaped like a family-sized packet of Lays chips. At New York Fashion Week, Collina Strada sent wine glasses suspended inside macrame handles down the runway, and one green organza purse even had a broccoli head attached to it via a metal carabiner. In Milan, Moschino’s clutches were inflatable — complete with a rubber valve to top up their air.

Earlier this year, French luxury house Coperni went viral with a highly impractical glass Swipe bag beloved by Doja Cat and Kylie Jenner.

Such odd-ball accessories sit at the intersection of fashion and memes. By featuring the notorious pigeon purse, Rogers and Santiago have engineered an Easter egg moment destined for virality on-screen and beyond. And just like that… An internet culture moment was born.

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