Gossip Girl's Costume Designer Dishes All Of The On-Set Gossip, Girl

Ever watch Gossip Girl and find yourself salivating over Blair and Serena's every sartorial move? Okay, maybe that's an unnecessary question, not to mention a brutal understatement, but here's a better question: Ever wonder how the girls achieve that ever-present NY chicness? Whether the starlets are traveling, partying, or, getting married(eee!), Eric Daman is the costumer extraordinaire who helps them look the part.
In anticipation of the show's 100th episode, we sat down with Eric for some tips and testimonials to tide us over until the big day (tomorrow!). From his feelings about the absence of Little J Humphrey to his inspiration sources, Eric filled us in on the in's and out's of the coolest job ever.
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Is there anything surprising that you have included maybe from major retailers that our readers could afford that we would be surprised to find out has made its way into the show?
"I think kind of the most surprising thing that we've done this season is for the 100th episode which is the wedding episode that the bridesmaids are actually wearing Vera Wang's line for David's Bridal which is called White. It was important to me to have that accessibility to kind of create this royal wedding and all this drama, but I knew we were doing a lot of interviews and I really think it's important to have our viewers at home feel like it's actually something accessible. I think when people are going into weddings and going through all that Bridezilla craziness that sometimes it's hard to remember that you can do affordable things and, you know, style it and make it look fabulous."
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Do you take inspiration from real New Yorkers when you style these "fake" New Yorkers?
"New York itself is just such a great inspiration. I live in the East Village, just walking around Tompkins Square Park and just see so many great looking people and thinking, 'Oh that's a great way to put your scarf on,' or just little things like that. I think kind of why the show has, you know, such a trendful impact and it's different than other shows, is that we are New York and I've been in New York for 15 years and I've always been kind of passionate about New York fashion and how people really do get dressed up and really have their own style.  And it's just, every time I walk down the street I get inspired by something." 
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Speaking of different types of people and how New Yorkers dress, do you miss Taylor Momsen, and do you miss dressing her character?  
"I do, I was very close with Taylor and I do miss her and I thought her character was different. She was much younger than the other girls and viewers liked to kind of follow her arc and who she was becoming and to kind of grow with her out of the kind of the Pretty In Pink, vintage Marc Jacobs-y world and go into this more sultry rock and roll Debbie Harry type. It was a lot of fun and I thought she had a great role but I'm happy that she's following her dream and has become an amazing rock star.  I've seen her three times in concert, and I think she's fantastic, and I'm happy that she's doing great and doing her own thing.  But I do miss her!"
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  Do the girls have input on their wardrobe? Who has the most input or who wants the most input?
"I have a great relationship with all of them because I've been here since the pilot, so we've all kind of grown with them. I think they're really happy with the results that we've created together.  Leighton is very different than who Blair Waldorf is — she's just really different to me.  You know, she wants to look pretty and beautiful but of course every actress does, so she'll just come play dress up.
And Blake is very interested, not that Leighton is not interested in fashion, but Blake is very interested in fashion and really loves to learn when she comes in here, and likes to share things with me and we have a great dialogue together, so it's kind of a team.  Blake is very integrated in her fittings and really enjoys it.  I think she has such a passion for it. And Serena and Blake are quite similar in who they are, not who they are as far as personally, but as far as fashion goes, I think they like the same things and have a bit more of a symbiotic relationship than I think, say, Blair and Leighton."
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How do you think the 100th episode will go over? With the wedding coming up, what do you want to be the most iconic piece?  Obviously the wedding dress, but is there another kind of "moment" that we should look out for in the 100th episode?
"The opening sequence.  I can't tell you what it is, but the opening sequence is really quite fabulous. It has this really great costume moment and it's quite remarkable, but I can't tell you what it is!"
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Is there any style trending now that you won't put on the actresses or that they won't wear, anything popular now that you're trying to stay away from just out of personal preference maybe?
"Um, I think it's more of a personal preference.  I think we've seen a lot of denim on denim and a lot of printed denim and I just feel like that's not really who our girls are at this point, so I kind of stay away from what we're doing with denim at this point."
How do you feel real guys can interpret the Chuck Bass flair into their every day wardrobe?
"I think every guy should have an amazing, perfectly-fitted suit and if you do that, if you have a great suit you can change it up with a shirt and tie. We do a lot of pattern on pattern with Chuck.  You know, if you're doing a bold patterned shirt, then do a more tonal, lighter pattern tie.  But I think the key to it is just having that one great suit that you've had fitted to you.  I think a lot of guys are walking around in suits that are quite ill-fitting and I think what really makes a suit great is that it can be fitted and it doesn't cost much, you can probably get it done for 25 bucks at your local tailor and I think that's really the key to having that sharp Chuck Bass edge."
Lastly, if you could dress anyone, who would it be?  
"That's a good one, there are so many.  Off the top of my head, I would say Catherine Deneuve or Brigitte Bardot."  
Photos: Courtesy of Time Warner

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