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So Southern

Some say there's a little bit of the “Sex and the City” characters in each of us.

The long-running HBO television show focused on four characters – sassy Carrie, no-nonsense Miranda, sexy Samantha and prim Charlotte – who launched countless trends and catchphrases.

So hot on the heels of summer release of the blockbuster “Sex and the City: The Movie,” Belk announced it was launching a clothing line from Kristin Davis, who played Charlotte with proper preppy aplomb. Glamazons across the country couldn't wait for a glimpse of the line.

“We got all this national press that we didn't even necessarily plan,” Davis said last week during an interview at the Ballantyne Resort. “It was hugely flattering, but at the same time, it was ‘Oh my goodness!'”

Charlotte-based Belk, the largest privately held department store chain, didn't even have an e-commerce Web site. Once the buzz started building, she says, “We made a panicked call and said, ‘Please get the Web site up! Please get the Web site up!'”

The actress, who was raised in Columbia, S.C., admits to still being a bit overwhelmed by this design thing, but she's learning and loving it.

“I'm not (in the Carolinas) all the time, but when I am, I go around to the stores and check out how it's selling, the displays,” she says. “And my mom is still in Columbia, so she can go – the one store they know her, so she's not a secret scout, but in the other stores, she peeks around and tells me what she sees.”

Davis, 43, was in Charlotte to host a Belk fashion show featuring her line and other designers that benefited the Junior League of Charlotte. Her answers have been edited.

Q. How much of your Southern upbringing went into your decision to partner with Belk?

A lot. I had never really thought that I would do a clothing line. …The reason I said yes to Belk is that I know Belk. I shopped at Belk and bought gifts at Belk. I don't know that there is anyone else I would have taken that chance with.

Q. What did you hope to accomplish with the line?

When we first started (“Sex and the City”), you could not find feminine, pretty clothes. …Because that's how I like to dress. But at the same time we wanted to make a line that was affordable. And that was what was most appealing. (Over the years) I would keep my favorite pieces, and those are the kind of things we got out my closet and used as models (for my line).

Q. How involved are you in the design process?

The first step was to go into my closet and pick out my favorite silhouettes. It's daunting. My name is on it, and I want to feel like part of it and I want it to be affordable and easy to take care of. There are so many different elements. … It's a lot to think about. I can't say that I'm where I want to be yet in my learning curve; there's still things to learn. If you don't pay attention, something is going to come back with your name on it and you're going to be “Oh no…”

Q. What's your take on Southern women?

There is a definite put-together thing (about Southern women). And there's a stereotype that it's kind of a prissy thing; I think it's more of an everyone wants to look good and feel good.

Q. The line is ambitiously large for a debut – sleepwear, accessories, shoes, bags … Are there plans to scale back for next season?

I know! It's unbelievable! It's like how many pairs of shoes did I make? I mean I approved all of them, but when you see it all, you're just wowed. It's totally insane. For spring/summer we're adding swimwear, sunglasses and cover-ups. We're looking at cotton modal, and I was telling (her design team) that we need linen. And they were saying, ‘But it wrinkles.' I told them, there's rules (for the South). The linen can be wrinkled, other things cannot be wrinkled. We need to think about linen, seersucker.'

Q. How much of the line is Charlotte; how much is you?

Hard for me to say. I've had a hard time answering that question because I have been playing Charlotte for 10 years. I'd say half and half. I personally like a certain kind of silhouette and the character wears that as well, because that's my body shape. I can't change my body shape. The difference, I think, is that Charlotte the character is more starched, and the things I wear are a little more wearable. But there are definitely similarities, too.

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