Eric Daman on Recreating Carrie Bradshaw: 'It Was Terrifying'

We caught up with Carrie Diaries costume designer Eric Daman on what we can expect from the new series's take on style icon Carrie Bradshaw--from 80s fashion to bra straps.
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Leah Chernikoff
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We caught up with Carrie Diaries costume designer Eric Daman on what we can expect from the new series's take on style icon Carrie Bradshaw--from 80s fashion to bra straps.
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On January 14 Carrie Bradshaw is back. Only blonder. And in high school.

Sure, Carrie (played by AnnaSophia Robb) may look a little different when Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries hits the small screen next week (at 8 ET/PT on the CW), but you can bet the clothes will stack up to the original.

That's because Gossip Girl costumer Eric Daman--who also worked on the original Sex and the City with Patricia Field--is behind them. But don't think he wasn't nervous about taking on the legendary Carrie Bradshaw.

We chatted with the costume designer to get the scoop on what his Carrie will look like.

You worked on the original Sex and the City and the fashion from the show sets the bar pretty high. What was it like to take on the prequel? I was very excited and of course terrified to have to recreate such a style icon. I didn't want to step on any toes, and then having worked with Patricia [Field], I just wanted to be fair to everyone. I was definitely stressed at the beginning. You know, recreate Carrie Bradshaw? No pressure at all on that.

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How will this younger, '80s Carrie look? At the beginning we did a lot of research, watched a lot of John Hughes movies. I had some understanding [of Carrie] because I graduated high school in '88. I was teenager in the midwest who loved fashion--I had drive an hour just to find Interview magazine. I really pulled on my past because I had a really similar thing I was trying to deal with--I was trying to find this element of personal style. And Carrie is all about this idiosyncratic, individual style.

How did you tackle the '80s thing? It wasn't the kindest fashion decade... We didn’t want to make the fashion over-the-top kitchsy. We wanted to make it so that everyone at home could really relate to it and at the same time we wanted to make the show something that could become a fashion phenomenon. So we wanted to have a contemporary edge to the clothes and find that balance. I’d say it breaks down 70% contemporary and 30% vintage. What we do is we have a whole team who outfits 25 or 50 background people in original '80s clothing so that kind of sets the '80s framework and then we can put the other kids in stuff that's more streamlined and contemporary. When Carrie goes to high school she wears this Opening Ceremony sweater that to me felt very ‘80s because of the pink color but it’s definitely contemporary meets vintage. It's all in the eye of the beholder.

Where did you shop for her? We shop everywhere from Macy's to Forever 21 to H&M to vintage boutiques like Amarcord and Resurrection. And etsy.com has been great for vintage piece that are really original and eclectic.

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Will AnnaSophia Robb's Carrie be toned down for high school? Carrie still has her own personal style. In The Carrie Diaries, she’s just recently lost her mother, and her mom’s closet becomes this pandora's box where she can grab a pair of great '60s boots and create this really individualistic style. We see her mix and match a lot of prints that you wouldn’t expect--but it’s still appropriate for high school.

So no exposed bra straps? Not yet. What’s great about the show is Carrie's just moved to Connecticut and she starts going back and forth to New York to do this internship and the more she visits New York the more she learns about fashion and cultivates a higher level of taste. So we can see her grow and evolve into Carrie Bradshaw the fashion icon. We understand where she gets her eccentric taste from, where her "Carrie" necklace comes from. You’ll be able to play Where's Waldo and say, ‘Oh, that’s out where that came from.’

What kinds of reveals can we expect? The little "C" necklace by Alex Woo that she wears is the precursor to the nameplate necklace. It’s delicate and sweet, like something her mom would have given her for her sweet 16. The Carrie bag that she personalizes is her security blanket. It’s a Mark Cross bag that her mom had given her and her other sister damages it with nail polish. So Carrie turns around and personalizes it and makes it this amazing magical bag.

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So many people wanted to dress like the characters you created on Gossip Girl (ahem, thinking of Nora here), is that the goal with Carrie Diaries? We're going for a different point of view with Carrie Diaries--to make kids believe in themselves, to take chances, to be individuals. Carrie doesn't have necessarily have a signature look. Fans going out there trying to be Carrie Bradshaw, that won't happen--it's about embracing individuality and having fun with clothing. It’s less about buying a headband. Carrie’s mentor in New York is an editor at Interview and she does have the most amazing clothing. She's somewhere between Iman and Grace Jones and that's where you're really going to get those Sex and the City moments. There’s a lot of Alexis Bittar jewelry and big hats.

How has AnnaSophia Robb taken to being Carrie Bradshaw? She's wide-eyed and got a hunger and a passion for it. She's just a high school graduate from Colorado--she's open to it all. I'm glad she is open-minded. She lets me help her create Carrie Bradshaw.

Click through to see more still from the series. Photos: Courtesy CW