Meet Gossip Girl’s Costume Designer Eric Damon
Just before the original Gossip Girl was taken off Netflix I re-watched the show and of course, I was in awe of the fashion all over again. Mesmerized by the glamorous outfits Blair Waldorf and Serena Van Der Woodsen wore in each episode, I did a deep dive on the internet to find out who was responsible for creating each character’s signature style. I discovered that the mastermind behind the lavish wardrobe on the show was costume designer Eric Daman. He previously assisted costume designer Patricia Fields on Sex and The City and almost turned down the offer to work on Gossip Girl. Thank God he didn’t because he truly has a gift.
Since the majority of the characters didn’t have a credit card limit the characters wore all kinds of designers like Chanel, Dior, Ferragamo, Moschino, Marc Jacobs, Louboutin, Roger Vivier and more. They had no excuse to not wear the most luxurious items they own. Of course, being born into wealthy families, Serena never had to wear the same handbags or shoes just like Blair never wore the same headband. After scouring the internet here’s everything I found out on how Eric Damon developed each character’s style:
First, he read the books and created mood boards on what he imagined each character’s style would look like. He presented them to producer Stephanie Savage and they were both on the same page.
Let’s Talk About The Female Characters Style Development in Gossip Girl
Blair’s style was inspired by beloved Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn. Damon described Blair’s style as having an American vogue aesthetic. While at times you can see the Parisian influence on her style she also channelled old Hollywood glamour at times. Blair always looked polished and dressed more modestly compared to Serena. She strived for perfection and did that by pre-planning exactly what accessories to wear with each outfit and what hair and makeup would look the most flattering with that outfit. Damon explains that her desire to always look like a well-dressed influential woman comes from having an eating disorder and a judgemental and disapproving mother. She was a fashion designer’s daughter and she had to look the part. Being highly selective about her appearance also stems from being extremely insecure. She wanted everyone to think she was an extremely confident and powerful woman but in reality, she was hiding behind her luxurious wardrobe. Nevertheless, fashion was a part of her life from a young age and it was important to her to showcase her fashion knowledge. She wasn’t afraid of wearing prints and was proud of being a trendsetter. Her outfits were always feminine yet elegant. She wore handbags from Chanel, Dior, Fendi, and more. Oh, and her lingerie? It was obviously from La Perla and Agent Provocateur.
Of course, I can’t forget to talk about her signature accessory, headbands. It wasn’t planned that headbands would become her signature accessory but after seeing her in them Damon and Savage decided she would always wear them. The headband was meant to act as a symbol for a crown. Not only was she the queen of Constance but she later became an actual princess.
Some of my favourite looks she’s worn is the Marchesa gown she was crowned prom queen in, the gorgeous Oscar De La Renta Gown she wore in Paris, and of course the Ellie Saab dress she married her one true love in, Chuck Bass.
Serena Van Der Woodsen
Serena’s style was inspired my famous model Kate Moss. According to Damon, Serena had more of a bohemian style and more of an Italian Vogue aesthetic. She was a free spirit and rule-breaker and that was showcased in what she wore. However, her carefree effortless style was challenging to develop. Serena wore lots of mini skirts, short dresses, and plunging necklines and Damon said this is a result of having, “no stable home life and several stepdads.”
Serena’s style reminds me of that model-off-duty look. Although we never saw her wearing Adidas track pants or Doc Martens being the beautiful blonde bombshell that she was, she didn’t have to put much effort into what she was wearing. She had the messy hair look mastered and a closet full of high-fashion pieces she could just pop on whenever she was running late. She had a free-spirit rebellious approach to fashion.
My favourite outfits Serena wore is the Zuhair Murad gown she wore to the Ballet, the black couture tux she wore by Parisian designer Maxime Simoëns, and the gold 70s inspired dress by Diane von Furstenberg she wore for her grandmother’s birthday.
Every conflict Jenny goes through was reflected in her clothing from being daddy’s girl to being a rebellious high school dropout. In the beginning, all Jenny wanted was to fit in and impress Blair. When Jenny first starts at Constance she mimics the style of Blair’s minions because she wanted to be one of them. Once she becomes the queen of Constance she leaves behind the innocent girl from Brooklyn she was and embraces living on the Upper East Side. Damon said that once Jenny is the queen of Constance he incorporated aspects of both Serena and Blair’s style into her looks. While I think Jenny’s style is most definitely influenced by the two most popular girls on the Upper East Side she always added her own creative twist. She may not have been able to afford what Serena and Blair wore but she was artistic and had the skills to make something amazing for herself (of course Damon being the ghost designer behind Jenny’s creations). There’s no doubt that her creativity stemmed from her parents who were both involved in the arts. Damon said that Jenny was the most difficult to style but he did a great job of allowing Jenny’s personality shine through everything she wore.
Let’s Talk About The Male Characters Style Development on Gossip Girl
Damon said that Chuck was his favourite to style. He was someone who liked to indulge in his wealth and that included in the way he dressed. His signature accessory was of course scarves, specifically the Boris scarf from J.Press. As he matures as a character you also see his style evolve into a well-dressed businessman as opposed to the horny teenager he was when the show first started. Chuck showcased a different approach to menswear and made it okay to wear flamboyant pieces and feminine colours. Chuck’s style was influenced by European fashion that is why Damon put him in Italian brands like Armani and Bottega Veneta. No matter what the occasion was he almost always was in a suit. I think he always was well-dressed because he needed to showcase his exquisite taste and have others around him take him more seriously.
Nate dressed like your typical rich white boy: preppy and ready to attend an Ivy League school. Damon said his style consisted of lots of Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers, which tells you pretty much everything you need to know about his style. Whether he wore collared shirts, button downs, knit sweaters, khakis, or loafers he always looked clean and crisp. Collegiate style just suited Chace Crawford very well.
There’s no doubt that the fashion on Gossip Girl played a huge part in showcasing each character’s individuality and is one of the many reasons why the show was so loved. Damon’s goal was to create a living magazine and he did just that. He’s also styling the Gossip Girl reboot and so far the style the new characters are completely different than the old. Stay tuned for my breakdown of each character’s style from the Gossip Girl reboot.