Costume designer Eric Daman is back and fully channeling his New York City roots. Famous for work on Sex and The City and the original Gossip Girl, Daman returns to the Upper East Side to style your favorite Constance Billard girls and St. Jude boys for the new Gossip Girl reboot on HBO Max.
Daman has worked with some elite NYC designers, so of course there’s an entire episode dedicated to Christopher John Rodgers. But, we can’t wait to see the gorgeous diamonds worn throughout the series, either— and there are plenty of them.
“There’s this amazing moment in our first gala in episode two where Julien [Calloway, the show’s new it-girl], is wearing this incredible Christopher John Rogers gown with these Bulgari, Serpenti earrings,” says Daman. A high schooler in Bulgari diamonds? Only on Gossip Girl.
Bulgari sent the diamond jewelry to the costume department early on and Daman was just waiting to find the perfect gown to match. “Sometimes I see amazing pieces of jewelry or diamonds that don’t have a home at the time,” he told Only Natural Diamonds. “But I know that they’re special pieces and I think they’re in my subconscious.”
With that in mind, we had to ask: When it comes to a look, what comes first, the dress or the jewelry? “In a way, that earring kind of planted that dress in my mind,” he revealed. “So, I think there’s a symbiotic relationship between the jewelry and the outfits.”
The dress itself is a show-stopper: A black gown with a full skirt and colorful, bustier-style stitching that matches the colorful stones in the Bulgari Serpentine earrings. “We put Julien in that dress and I knew that the Serpenti earrings were the right earrings for that look,” says Daman. When a look is meant to be, the right pieces have a way of finding themselves into the right hands. In this case, the hands of a very talented costume designer.
Take, for instance, Daman’s favorite diamond moment from the original series: Blair’s Harry Winston sunset necklace and fiery-orange Oscar de la Renta dress in Paris. “It was just such a cinematic moment,” he says, recalling the scene Gossip Girl fans loved just as much. “I think, visually, that it’s truly one of my favorites.” It’s definitely one of our favorite diamond moments.
“We went to Harry Winston in Paris. I was there with my assistant designer, and we got to try it on all these necklaces, and then the sunset necklace came out and I was like ‘that,’” he recalls. “And I knew it was the perfect piece with that dress. We did a lot of tonal play on Blair, and with the orange and the citrine, [it] just felt like the perfect match to that dress.” We couldn’t agree more.
Eric Daman Says Instagram Inspired the Fashion on the Gossip Girl Reboot
The fashion in general feels very different from the original, and it’s all thanks to Instagram. “I wanted to honor what’s going on with the Gen Z-ers, and really play to that crowd,” explains Daman. “It was essential to really do a deep dive and be inspired by Instagram and influencers and have that be part of the dialogue as well as part of the look.”
Gossip Girl herself operates on social media in the reboot, so it only makes sense that Instagram would influence more than just the juicy gossip on the show. “It’s been really exciting and cool to kind of pull it into the modern world and keep it very current in that way.”
And don’t try to compare any of the new characters to our original Upper East Side queens. “You would think Julien would be like the Serena of the story because she’s our lead, she’s the most popular, and she’s the influencer,” muses Daman. “I think she has a Serena vibe only in the fact that she’s a free spirit about how she dresses, but I wouldn’t say she’s free-spirited.”
If there’s one thing we knew about Serena, it’s that she didn’t really care what people thought about her. Julien, on the other hand, is very aware of her image. “She’s actually very thought out,” explains Daman. “It’s all in a plan for Instagram and it’s all very well plotted out.” Maybe a little mix of Blair and Serena? Now that sounds like a powerful woman.
Daman also revealed that he and his team, including stylist Jennifer Michalski-Bray, were able to color outside the lines a bit more when it came to the school uniform this time around. “I had a lot of fun with the colorful tights and the accessories and the coats and the bags on the original,” said Daman. “But the school uniform itself was still very much a school uniform.” In 2021, things are a little different.
“Julien just shows up in her dad’s oversized Celine white dress shirt and tiny biker shorts as her school uniform, which is obviously defying all of the school uniform rules,” said Daman with a laugh. “But she’s the leader of the pack, she doesn’t give an ‘F’ about those rules, and I think it is important to demonstrate when you first see her on the show.” If Julien’s defiance sets the tone of the show, we can’t wait to see where it goes next.
As for Daman, he’s going to keep churning out stunning looks on set, with some help from his lucky diamond earrings. “They were my first big investment purchase when I was going to the Emmy’s for Sex and the City,” he revealed. “I took myself to Tiffany’s and bought these really awesome eternity diamond hoops that have diamonds on the outside and diamonds on the inside, so when you look at your earring you see diamonds all the way around.” We love the extra sparkle that comes with an eternity hoop.
“I wore them to the Emmy’s and I came home with an Emmy and now I wear them for good luck or for events,” Daman said with a smile. “It’s my very special diamond piece.” Carrie Bradshaw, Serena Van Der Woodson, and Blair Waldorf would *definitely* approve.
‘Gossip Girl’ premieres Thursday, July 8 on HBO Max.