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Sex and the City comes to Liverpool; Penny Fray talks to four women who could easily swap roles with TV's sexiest characters.

Byline: Penny Fray

FROM its super smart restaurants to its designer heels,Sex and the City has evolved from a cult television show to an international trendsetter. But now it's time to wave goodbye to Carrieand co as the final series hits our TV screens tomorrow night. So does it mean the end of girly chats, fabulous shoes and Cosmopolitan cocktails? Of course not. After all the North West, like Manhattan, has become the perfect stomping ground for the girl about town.

It is a venue where ``people in the know'' get around in black cabs,brunch at chic restaurants and drink pink cocktails with glitzy pals.

It is an area of short skirts, towering heels and nerves of steel, so bold and alive that there is always a party being thrown somewhere. In short,it is a place where you can become part of reality not fiction.

While its hard to imagine Carrie, Charlotte,Miranda or Samliving anywhere else other than New York, Merseyside and Cheshire offer a wealth of opportunities for the aspirational.

``Liverpool has grown more in the last decade than anyone could imagine,'' says Liverpool lifestyle PR Kate Speakman. ``Bursting with beautiful bars,exclusive boutiques and trendy galleries,Liverpool is well prepared to become the European Capitalof Culture in 2008.''

Bar hopping under Albert Dock's colonnades, sipping cocktails on the quayside, nibbling finger food in private booths and rubbing shoulders with the local celebrities -who needs Sex and the City when it's all happening here in Liverpool?

While the Big Apple boasts of Tiffany's -a fabulous jewellery store on Fifth Avenue -we have the the equally elite Boodle & Dunthorne in Lord Street.

And who needs Dolce & Gabbana, Armani or Tommy Hilfinger when you haveLiverpool's WadeSmith,Cricket and Vivienne Westwood to flex your plasticin? The Upper East Side may ooze sophistication with its expensive stores and flash flats.

But so does the Albert Dock -minus the snooty assistants and pampered pooches.

Finally, SoHo's minimalist art galleries, funky furniture stores, and delicious delis have anew rival in Liverpool's new cultural quarters with its brand new Fact Centre and quirky Bold Street cafes.

However, that's not to say Sex and the City hasn't hadahuge impact on the streets of the region.

Nameplate necklaces, flat caps, baguette bags and corsages a rejust a few of the show's trends to have been embraced by the Scouse fashionista. But while Carrie buys her Jimmy Choo shoes from the Upper East Side, the rest of us are ordering costly footwear from Merseyside's Paloma.

`THE show has certainly encouraged Scousers to experiment more with clothes -mixing designer pieces with vintage and high street outfits,'' explains TereasaPotts,manager of Cricket. ``But most of our clients have the courage to dress differently -making it clear that they're not Carrieclones.''

But it is not just fashion which has benefited from the New York influence. Kate, says that the show has certainly influenced what we drink.

``The classic Cosmopolitan has finally becoming a firm favourite in chic bars such as Newz.

``And brunching is one of the most fabulous ways to dine -partly due to the SATCgirls' fondness for dissecting their love lives over plates of eggs Benedict.''

Some of Liverpool's trendy establishments have even gone so far as hosting their own Sex and the City nights.

The Newz bar now hold Sex and the City events on Monday night with AbsoluteHunk and Cosmopolitan Cocktails being served by their very own ``Smith''.

Meanwhile, relationship counsellor and sex therapist TrishaLiddiard believes SATChas been the most ground breaking show for women to have hit our TV screens in years.

She believes it has begun a trend for older single women to feel empowered about their status in society.

She says: ``Before SATC,a woman in her late 30s and 40s who was single was seen as an object of pity -a Bridget Jones-type character. Now the older singleton is almost an aspirational figure. ``Sheearns her own money and spends it on what she wants. She can eat out, attend parties and date without worrying about saving for a family holiday abroad or changing the carpet in the living room.

``Although the SATC women may be looking for love, they are not in need of the financial and emotional security that a long term relationship with a man supposedly provides.

``They don't settle for second best men in the long term because they know at the end of the day they always have each other. It is a very positive feminist message.''

Few doubt that Carrie and Co are truly inspirational characters as they play an upwardly mobile mating game with great clothes and great apartments to match.

``It is little surprise that Liverpool women want to emulate their lifestyle and all the trappings which go with it,'' concludes Liddiard.

MIRANDA HOBBES,LAWYER

Kay Cook, 32, a law partner at Oliver & Co in Chester Similarities: Apart from being a red headed lawyer,I have a great circle of female friends who I can call at any time for a chat, weal so meet regularly to discuss the events of the week and try to put the world to rights.

But as we are all settled down now the topics of conversation have changed somewhat.''

Differences: Well, where do I start? I'm not a single mum,I don't drink designer cocktails or wear lurid green eyeshadow. But more significantly I don't whine to the same extent.

Hang outs: The Living Room in Liverpool and The Grosvenor in Chester.

Stylist: Andrew Collinge in Chester. Clothes: Chic separates and classic suits from Coast and shoes from Mod a in Pelle.

Liverpool -the new Manhattan? I think there is a growing culture of socialising in trendy bars and restaurants after work but the dating thing is much bigger in New York. I think the English are much more reserved -which isn't a bad thing!

SAM JONES,PR EXECUTIVE

Carolyn Hughes,42, PR Executive from Liverpool Similarities: I have a feisty nature similar to hers but I also have the ability to smile when I feel like screaming. Sam and I seem to understand the whole PR ethos and all the advantages that go with the work, yet her friends remain pivotal in her life. She is also quite a sensitive soul -and for all her outer professional toughness she is quite sweet underneath. She takes charge of her life and woe betide anyone who gets in her way.

Dissimilarities: She is a complete man-eater and in real life if you carried on like her you would be accused of getting work on your back. So,no similarities there I assure you!

Hangouts: The Living Room,Prohibition, Mosquito,Vampire Suite and Similarities: I have a feisty nature similar to hers but I also have the ability to smile when I feel like screaming. Sam and I seem to understand the whole PR ethos and all the advantages that go with the work, yet her friends remain pivotal in her life. She is also quite a sensitive soul -and for all her outer professional toughness she is quite sweet underneath. She takes charge of her life and woe betide anyone who gets in her way.

Dissimilarities: She is a complete man-eater and in real life if you carried on like her you would be accused of getting work on your back. So,no similarities there I can assure you!

Hangouts: The Living Room,Prohibition, Mosquito,Vampire Suite and of course -Anfield Football GroundStylist: Alan Henry of Time Hairdressing.

Clothes: Karen Millen and Wade Smith.

Liverpool -the new Manhattan? Liverpool is `thenew kid on the block' and while New York is amazing,Liverpool has a new cosmopolitan flavour to it.

The vibrant cafe/bar culture coupled with current levels of inner city investment and the achievement of the European Capital of Culture tag has created a real buzz in the City. Liverpool is now recognised for its style,culture,creativity,and humour,all of which are great qualities. The bars and restaurants are full of professional ladies having `Sex and theCity' type lunches. Gone are the days when we had to have a reason to lunch!

The vibrant cafe/bar culture coupled with current levels of inner city investment and the achievement of the European Capital of Culture tag has created a real buzz in the City. Liverpool is now recognised for its style,culture,creativity,and humour,all of which are great qualities. The bars and restaurants are full of professional ladies having `Sex and theCity' type brunches. Gone are the days when we had to have a reason to chat!

CARRIE BRADSHAW -JOURNALIST AND SOCIALITE

Louise Davies, 24, girl-about-town and Daily Post journalistSimilarities: I love pretty clothes, tasty cocktails andI have a strong and vibrant relationship with my friends. Plus -I'm single. Similarities: I love pretty clothes, tasty cocktails andI have a strong and vibrant relationship with my friends.

Differences: On a journalist's salary Ican't afford a wardrobe full of Jimmy Choo shoes!

Hang outs: Newz Bar,Tea Factory,Modo and Bluu Plus -I'm single. Differences: On a journalist's salary Ican't afford a wardrobe full of Jimmy Choo shoes!

Hang outs: Newz Bar,Tea Factory,Modo and Bluu Stylist: Steven Hamill in Allerton.

Clothes: My favourite shops are Kookai,Jane Norman Stylist: Steven Hamill in Allerton.Clothes: My favourite shops are Kookai,Jane Normanand Warehouse. Liverpool -the new Manhattan?: Absolutely. Thereare lots of chic bars with cocktail lounges here.

CHARLOTTE YORK, EX ART DEALER

Lisa Tolly, 26,Trainee Exhibitions Manager, Hoylake Similarities: ``We share the same taste in clothes, we'reboth feminine and have high expectations,I have an optimistic outlook on love and life.

Differences: I don't have thePark Avenue apartment -but I wish I did!

Hangouts: Anywhere as long as I can have a good time with my friends and a glass of wine. Stylist: I'vejust had my hair done at Barbara Daley's salon in Lime Street,Liverpool,but usually I go to Hairworks in Hoylake Clothes: Although I'm wearing Chloe from Cricket today,I usually shop in Oasis,Kookai,and Warehouse. But when I have some spare cash I can't resist DKNYand Ralph Lauren. Liverpool -the new Manhattan? ``Thanks to the Capital of Culture 2008 title,I think Liverpool is fast becoming one of Europe's best cities with a wide variety of shops, restaurants,museums,art galleries and so much more. Liverpool has a fabulous mix of old and new and a real buzz about it. Plus lately there always seems to be an opening of a new bar or res-taurant.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 29, 2004
Words:1757
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