In 1998, when chunky heels were still in, Monica Lewinsky had just become a household name and everyone wanted Aerosmith’s Armageddon love ballad, “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” to be their wedding song, no one could have suspected that a little show which debuted in June on HBO to become a worldwide phenomenon. But 12 years, six seasons and one blockbuster film later, “Sex and the City” has become iconic, with fans viewing the four main characters – Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Samantha (Kim Cattrall), Charlotte (Kristen Davis) and Miranda (Cynthia Nixon) – as both deities and friends, celebrating the release of each film the way you might a birthday.

“When the first movie opened,” writer/producer/director Michael Patrick King recalls, “I would see lines of women at the theaters all dressed up as if they were going to a party, not just a movie. It felt to me like they were excited to celebrate this special time with their girlfriends – both the ones in the seats and on the screen.”

Sarah Jessica Parker, a producer on the series and the films, couldn’t agree more, adding, “It’s very moving and truly thrilling to be part of something that people have connected with and have strong feelings about. We gave a lot of thought as to how we’d take them into the next phase, two years down the road.”

King explains they wanted Sex and the City 2, the follow up to 2008’s runaway success, to be a continuation of the celebration surrounding their first trip to the big screen.

“I wanted the movie to be the party,” he explains.

After wrapping the first film up in a happy ending bow with Carrie and Mr. Big (Chris Noth) finally tying the knot, the filmmakers had to figure out the central conflict of a second movie.

“At the start of this movie, each of these four characters has found herself beginning to feel boxed in by one of those ‘female’ roles,” King says. “Carrie Bradshaw, the eternal single girl, now finds herself struggling with the title of wife. Miranda has discovered that despite all her years to prove otherwise, there can be a glass ceiling for women who work. Charlotte, who always dreamed of being the perfect mother to a loving family, now has the loving family and is discovering just how far out of her reach being the ‘perfect’ mother really is. [And] Samantha takes on the taboo of menopause and aging by fighting the idea that when a woman goes through the ‘change,’ she should have to change. We’re playing with the idea of what’s traditional and what isn’t.”

Needing some perspective, the women decide to jet off for a vacation in Abu Dhabi. The idea of heading to the United Arab Emirates came from King’s desire to make the story more global, to stay in tune with their global audience.

“We worked incredibly hard, but it was an adventure and a big, fun vacation, too,” King admits, “and that’s what I want the audience to have – an escape, a total escape.”

Part of the escapism for “Sex and the City” is beholding amazing fashion. Just as much as audiences love the girls, the romance and the men, half the fun is always the clothes.

Designer Patricia Field, who has overseen all “Sex” wardrobe since the show began its HBO run, is out-of-control fierce, her taste and style so insanely on point, sometimes looking at her ensembles can be like staring directly into the Arabian sun; it’s so divine, it hurts! From the woman who brought nameplate necklaces to Madison Avenue, Sex and the City 2 promises to deliver all the jaw-dropping fashion one film can hold.

“I get a huge amount of inspiration from the script,” Field says, “and I had a lot of fun with this one because it took us away to a magical place. The fantasy element of it was really special and a great jumping off place to make it gorgeous, and less about reality.”

“There were literally hundreds of racks of clothes from every important and emerging designer in the world in that space,” Parker remembers. “There was one massive room for just shoes, another for fine jewelry and another section just for bags. It’s like an alternate universe.”

Sex and the City 2 releases in theaters May 27.