By Courtney Thompson Posted May 26, 2010, 12:53 PM EDT
Manhattan once again welcomed the Sex and the City franchise with open arms on Monday night, this time for the movie sequel's premiere at Radio City Music Hall. The screening elicited all the fanfare one would expect, with thousands lining up hours early behind barricades on 62nd Street, where the sprawling step-and-repeat took center stage. Matching the film's poster, the blue carpeted area was full of glittering elements, from hanging chandeliers and rhinestone-embedded giant 2's, to bedazzled frames and a shiny Mercedes—a marketing move tied into the car's presence in the film. Adding to the mania were the 130 photo and press outlets.
Although Radio City had been booked for months, the after-party locale was in limbo until two weeks before the premiere date. Tasked with finding an iconic New York venue that fit the Sex standards, 15/40 Productions' Craig Waldman pitched three biggies—the New York Public Library, Bryant Park, and the Tent at Lincoln Center—to Warner Brothers vice president of special events Courtney Saylor and her team back in February. Ultimately the tent, which hosted the premiere party for the HBO series' fourth season back in 2001, got the green light.
The 15/40 team designed the look of the event in advance, but given that each venue’s configurations were drastically different, sets couldn’t be built until a decision was made. “The challenge for us was that while we had a long lead of design time, we were short on fulfillment time,” said 15/40’s Travis Jackson. The company had nine days to custom fabricate all the sets for the 22,000-square-foot space.
Following the screening for 5,000 guests, a whittled down crowd of 1,200 walked amid hundreds of lanterns to enter the tent, which was fashioned to look like—as Charlotte's daughter Lily says in the film—Jasmine and Aladdin's palace. Inspired by Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda's Abu Dhabi vacation, the after-party channeled the city's light and architecture via 600 feet of 20-foot-tall sets that 15/40 built in Los Angeles and transported across the country in three semi trucks.
Inside, designer Thomas Ford helmed the decor, coming up with a look that fell in line with the Arabian Nights theme, but also reflected the film's high-octane glamour. The stars of the night congregated in the raised V.I.P. areas, where Ultrasuede seating in gold, sand, and cream tones mixed with turquoise patterned art hanging on the draped walls. Oscar Mora provided the obligatory pops of pink with some 25,000 floral stems, which were flown in by the Colombian Floral Syndicate, taking up an entire plane.
The evening wrapped at 1:30 a.m., when weary but steadfast fans still awaited the party’s many celebrity attendees—among them Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall, and Chris Noth—outside.