While the quality of Gossip Girl’s plot lines may be diminishing (Dan has a baby? Really?), the quality of the show's wardrobe is definitely stable. With the tour de force that was Serena and Blair’s summer in Paris, it might even be getting better. This is all thanks to Eric Daman, who might have the best job in the world. I mean, he gets to dress Chuck Bass.
Following two of Gossip Girl’s strongest episodes to date (fashion-wise), we spoke to Eric about his amazing day job, Taylor Momsen, the only show he went to during fashion week, and his latest gig with Match.com providing first date outfit advice, some of which he was nice enough to share with us. (And FYI--if you want a free 7-day Match.com trial, click here)
What qualifies Daman for such a job? He draws an interesting comparison: “Like TV, most of your date will be from the waist up.” (He recommends “something sparkly” like a necklace or earrings to decorate the oh so important above-the-waist area.) Whether or not your first date involves run-ins with Lou Doillon and balls with French dignitaries, there is no one better suited than Eric to dole out sartorial advice.
His first words of wisdom? “Guys love shoes as much as girls do,” Eric insists, citing a poll that suggests a majority of men prefer that their date wear heels. However, he doesn’t necessarily want all girls to dress like Blair Waldorf on the first date. Being yourself, and reflecting that with your attire, is more important. “I think women don’t know to listen to themselves enough. Their inner voice is their best friend. I think its best to always be firm about who you are, because that's who you want to project and who you want the person across the table to fall in love with.”
Still, we want to know, what would Blair wear on a first date?
Blair would wear something very first date appropriate. Probably a really great sheath dress, something very Jackie O-inspired but revealing enough to show off a little bit of clavicle and collar bone and sleeveless. So there is a sexiness to it without giving away too much.
She kind of wears whatever she wants. I think she’d wear skinny jeans and a really great pair of pumps and maybe a boyfriend blazer and a bold tank top and some layered necklaces and of course that fabulous blond hair.
It depends on which Jenny we’re talking about. We’ve seen so many incarnations of Jenny. She might wear a little black dress, but then accessorize it with her leather motorcycle jacket, so that it feels appropriate to her but feels a little more dressed up. How did you style Blair and Serena differently in Paris, compared to New York?
We really wanted to turn it up a couple of notches and use couture and things we couldn’t really use as daywear in New York City. I wanted it to feel like the girls were kind of beamed from planet Gossip Girl into Paris so that it still felt like the Gossip Girl world. It’s Blair 2.0, Serena 2.0. It’s more glittery and over the top but still stays true to who the characters are. In the first episode, Blake is wearing a Georges Chakra couture dress worth $35,000 with a grey rag & bone blazer and a little straw hat and some flats. It’s kind of crazy that she’s wearing this great hand-beaded dress around all day with flats but it kind of makes sense.
As you mentioned, Jenny’s character has changed and evolved, perhaps the most. How have you reflected these changes in her wardrobe?
She’s gone through several changes but I think it follows who Taylor is in real life. Both Taylor and Jenny were 13 when they started and had to grow up in this [show] and become 16 years old and 17 years old. They try to be a little more outrageous or they have a lot of teen angst or they’re bad girls and then they’re really good girls and always trying to push the boundaries.
In the beginning, Jenny was a very Molly Ringwald Pretty in Pink-inspired character, sitting in Brooklyn making her own dresses to try and fit in with the upper east siders until her dad married Lily and she was actually going to be in the upper east side. She could have access to Phillip Lim and Oscar de la Renta and Alexander Wang. And all of that kind of made sense to who she had projected herself to be. At the end of the series, she became this Brooklyn rocker chick that maybe spoke to who her dad was and his rock past....
Do the actors ever give their input? Are any actors ever like, "no I won’t wear this"?
No, we don’t have that, I really have a great relationship with all of them. I think its really important to have a dialogue and share interest in the costumes with the actors. I’m there to help them create their character. If they don’t like something then I am totally fine with that and not everything in that room is something that I collected and feel very confident with. If they have an idea, I’m really open to that because they have to project who they are going to be in that scene. Which character is the most fun to dress?
I have to say Chuck Bass is a delight to dress. To create a men's look based on this Oscar Wilde-inspired dandy and have Ed embody that has been really been a joy. And to see men in bow ties all over the city, it’s been great because I think men need a lot more help dressing than women do and I think a lot of men have stigmas about certain colors and wearing bow ties. I think seeing this millionaire kid in New York running around with all these strippers has made it ok for a guy to run around wearing a bow tie and feel cool.
Eric’s been so busy on set, he hadn’t even seen most of the Spring 2011 collections. The only show he attended was Jenny Packham. Why, you might ask? Well, Serena will wear one of her gowns for next week’s all-important Fashion’s Night Out episode.