Eric Daman is the costume designer on "Gossip Girl," which is heading into its sixth season
Daman is bringing back Blair Waldorf's headbands after countless pleas from fans
Viewers can expect to see fall colors and delicate jewelry on season 6, Daman said
He's also outfitting "The Carrie Diaries," a "Sex and the City" prequel to air on The CW
Editor’s Note: This week, CNN is introducing you to a few of the most sought after costume designers in the business. They’ll share the trends, colors and silhouettes viewers can expect to see on TV this season, and offer inside information about the series they clothe.
Attention, Upper East Siders: Headbands are back!
If you’re not a fan of “Gossip Girl,” that reference was probably lost on you, but that doesn’t mean you’re unfamiliar with the CW series’ impact on fashion, and one hair accessory in particular.
Thanks to countless pleas from fans, costume designer Eric Daman is bringing back Blair Waldorf’s (Leighton Meester) headbands.
“We tried to (compensate) with the hats last year, but it didn’t seem to have the same impact,” Daman said. “I feel like the headband was such a thing for her when she was in high school. We wanted to segue out of it for a little bit.”
Going into its sixth and final, season, “Gossip Girl” would rather recycle an on-screen relationship than an outfit. While some characters have found themselves back in the arms of past lovers, “every handbag, every shoe, every accessory, every piece of clothing is only used for the scene that it’s in,” Daman said. With the exception of some of the men’s suits and dress shirts, that is.
Season six, which premieres October 8, will be no exception.
In addition to Blair’s headbands, Daman said, fans can expect a “rich fall color palette” complete with “deep sapphire blues, military olives, delicious aubergines punctuated by pops of fuchsia.” And look for “neons and acidic yellows in the way of accessories, shoes and bags.”
Rather than the statement jewelry the characters have rocked of late, Daman said, it’s all about delicate layering pieces this season. He called jewelry designer Meira T “one of this season’s best discoveries.”
Daman comes from “Sex and the City,” where he was an assistant costume designer on seasons 2, 3 and 4. He said his reputation, from working alongside Pat Field on the HBO series, was one reason designers were excited about getting involved with “Gossip Girl” early on.
“It’s an honor and a privilege for me to be able to have access to all these amazing designers. … If I tried to do the show on our budget, there’d be no way it would look like it does.”
Viewers should expect to see pieces by Valentino, Jonathan Saunders, McQueen, Prada, Marni, Gucci, Jenny Packham and Bottega Veneta on screen this fall.
But outfitting a show like “Gossip Girl” isn’t as simple as just plucking looks from the runway. Daman styles each ensemble, putting different pieces together to create something unique, like Serena van der Woodsen’s (Blake Lively) Jimmy Choo bag and Marc Jacobs laptop case, which peeked out of the tote. It didn’t take long before blogs were buzzing about the combo.
“All the characters have really grown in story and in style,” Daman said, “making statements and fashion headlines with their wardrobe choices on the way.”
Chuck Bass, played by Ed Westwick, has had a significant style transformation, Daman added: He’s gone from “bad-boy billionaire to seriously suited business maven.”
Gordon Gekko – Michael Douglas’ character in 1987’s “Wall Street” – and Patrick Bateman – Christian Bale’s character in 2000’s “American Psycho” – both inspired Chuck’s current style, Daman said.
“(Chuck) can wear whatever he wants,” Daman said. “He can wear a pink suit and an ascot and pull it off. … When you have men wearing pastels, there’s kind of a power behind the sexuality, I think. They’re so confident.”
Blair and Serena have also come a long way from the Constance Billard School uniforms they wore for the better part of the show’s first and second seasons.
“The challenge really was … giving them each their own kind of identity,” Daman said of accessorizing their uniforms. “Blair obviously started with the headband, and then it became giant ruffled bow blouses and fuller skirts. … Whereas Serena was wearing her skirt from when she was a sophomore, which was a different plaid. … It was a little shorter and just kind of worked with who her character was. And to make her more boho chic, she was wearing T-shirts and not proper blouses … then we’d accessorize her with sparkly cardigans or great little leather vests.”
Giving the actors an identity through their wardrobe really helps them “generate who they need to be for their characters,” he added.
And while Daman notes many high points in his five years working on the series, his proudest moment came during season 2, when he watched his own creation walk the runway in “The Serena Also Rises.”
“It was a Jenny Humphrey (Taylor Momsen) design that Serena (Lively) wore … a green bubble dress she wore in an Eleanor Waldorf (Margaret Colin) fashion show,” he said. “It fit Blake (Lively) like a glove, and it was just one of those moments where I was like, wow, that’s really a great dress.”
Daman teased that there’s a possibility season 6 will call for more original designs. In which case, viewers might get to see more from him.
Either way, fans will see Daman channel a different decade on the ’80s-set “Sex and the City” prequel, “The Carrie Diaries,” which is expected to debut on The CW in January. Daman drew from his experience as an assistant costume designer on the original series to reinvent Carrie Bradshaw as a teenage girl.
“As (Bradshaw, played by AnnaSophia Robb), grows up, we’re going to see the development of her fashion style grow and understand where it all comes from,” he said.
In the meantime, Daman is excited for fans to see what he’s got up his sleeves for the last season of “Gossip Girl.”
Given the state of the economy, he said, “people just enjoyed getting lost in the drama and the jewels and the sparkly-ness.”