Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Costume Rationale

This morning as I dressed for work, I felt the primal urge to reach for cream stockings, demure Chanel flats, a simple peacoat and equally buttoned-up frock. As I made my way to the metro, I caught a glimpse of my reflection a passing storefront window. Who was that frou frou fille looking back at me? Certainly not the one whose fashion icon on any given day more resembles Jane Birkin than Jane Eyre. But low and behold, it was me, top to bottom looking exactly like Blair Waldorf.

For those of you who have been eeking out an existence of irrelevance, Miss Waldorf is the deliciously deviant prep schooler on the deliciously devious show Gossip Girl. Indeed in the course of the WGA strike, GG has stormed media channels from TRL to the Times and it’s not news that its iconic UES style is half the draw. Unlike other teen shows before, Gossip Girl takes fashion very seriously. Its costume designer, Eric Daman, is not afraid to whip out insider labels like Alexander Wang and pair him with Forever 21 togs, as real NYC girls do all the time. Chanel, Fendi, Gucci are also staples for these girls who very realistically borrow from their well manicured mothers.

What kills me, however, is that with the plethora of fashion fortunes at his fingertips, why does Daman seem to never get it? As my friend commented, although we seek out the latest Malandrino dress immediately after the show wraps, we could or should never copy Daman’s total look (As I brutally realized en route to the office today.) Blair ends up looking too costumey while her counterpart Serena Van Der Woodsen looks like she simply missed the point. Granted it is a television show and costumes are exactly what they are, but if Daman gives us a Phillip Lim cookie, we’re probably gonna ask for a glass of Vena Cava. What we want is something equal to what legendary stylist Patricia Field did for Sex and the City (for which Daman curiously assisted). But where Field puts real thought into her characters (we actually believed Carrie belted Mr. Big’s button-down as a day dress), Daman cherry-picks trends to lazily create a look out of the NY Post style pages (Sorry Amy DiLuna.) Do we honestly believe that S would wear those wedge boots with that red leather perfecto over her uniform? A true fan has to believe S is better than that.

Final Word: This is not a harsh critique, just a simple request that Mr. Daman try a little harder. We’re sure he did not expect the runaway success of the show, this is the CW after all, but the reality is we’re watching- fashionistas, editors, ex-prep schoolers, in other words, girls who know their business- and in the business of fashion, we don’t mess around.

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