Forget Mad Men and Downton Abbey. TV show fashion simply will not be the same without Gossip Girl.
Six seasons ago, television's most stylish set hit primetime, luring young viewers into the scandalous inner circle of a privileged, corrupted and hyper sexually-active group of high school Manhattanites. Monday night, the show went out with a two hour special, where Gossip Girl's identity was finally revealed.
The series, based off Cecily von Ziegesar's bestselling Gossip Girl books, was initially welcomed with cheers everywhere- from fans and critics, urban dwellers and suburban teens. Who didn't like the crazy plots and incredibly gorgeous clothes featured on the steps of the Met or the dramatic scenes of underage Serena drinking her sorrows away at an exclusive hotel bar? The show slipped after its first three seasons, or once viewers realized that even the fashions weren't enough to excuse the laugh-out-loud ridiculous plots. But Gossip Girl's identity still remained a secret. For six seasons. TV critic Ellen Gray so fittingly wrote in her column Monday, "For reasons I've never fully understood, Gossip Girl, while never the most popular show on the never very popular CW, came for a time to define it."
Although there was never much demand for the show based on ratings, the fans who tuned in season after season were in fact marked by a tight-knit group of those who love or work in fashion, or those who aspired to be in fashion in some form. Eric Daman, the show's costume designer, after all, was its biggest behind-the-scenes asset. Gossip Girl has spurred numerous fashion-related websites, a Gossip Girl Guide to NYC, and even an e-commerce opportunity for fans who wanted a slice of social heaven (or hell, however they viewed it). The industry meanwhile was infatuated with the cameos that filtered through each episode, which included stylists like Rachel Zoe, designers like Cynthia Rowley and magazine insiders like Joe Zee. Obscure designers felt the Gossip Girl touch after their bracelet or bag made it onto the show. If fans couldn't be the characters, they at least wanted to dress like the Archibalds and the Waldorfs of the world. In particular, two characters, who we dissect below:
There was something about Serena van der Woodsen, played by Blake Lively, and her style that always inspired young women to take more risks - fashionably speaking - to try crazy braided hairstyles, wear short sequin skirts and higher heels with a sense of sparkle and confidence. Although I wouldn't go so far to say Serena was the ideal role model for young female viewers, she was perfect in her imperfections, genuinely spreading warmth everywhere she went. It was her carefully crafted mess of outfits that made us adore her more.
Then there's Blair Waldorf, also endearingly known as "Queen B," who was imperfect in her perpetual pursuit of perfection. The character depicted by a stunning Leighton Meester is the friend we would never want as an enemy, the girlfriend with fierce, loyal qualities. Yet somewhat deranged at times, there was always a softer side to Blair, whether it involved her rich girl family troubles or her tumultuous relationship with Chuck Bass, that made us root for her. Waldorf's ladylike style was also impeccable - the standard being a sheer blouse with a pair of fitted shorts, gorgeous Wolford stockings paired with Jimmy Choo pumps and a headband. Everything about Waldorf's style screamed premeditated "control!" And although as viewers we knew her world was far from perfection, at least her outfits projected something else. That is, after all, the mark of a true lady.