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'Gossip Girl' and 'Carrie Diaries' costume designer Eric Daman chats to HELLO! Online

February 28, 2013
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Costume designer Eric Daman spent five years working on Gossip Girl, creating the wardrobes of Blake Lively and Leighton Meester. Now, he is hard at work styling another iconic New York City fashionista, 16-year-old Carrie Bradshaw of The Carrie Diaries, whose character is played by AnnaSophia Robb. The series is a prequel to Sex and the City, the TV show that shot Sarah Jessica Parker to fame for her portrayal as Carrie Bradshaw, who was dressed by renowned stylist Patricia Field.

 Here, he talks to HELLO! Online about winning an Emmy, stepping into Patricia's Manolos and his thoughts on Kate Middleton's style. "When I got the call to say I had the job… "No pressure at all…", I thought. I was actually quite stressed out by the thought of it not to mention having to take on such an overwhelming task while overlapping with my duties on Gossip Girl. Soon thereafter I was elated and felt honored to have been asked to carry on and breath new life into such an amazing fashion torch. Patricia Field inspired me very much… She also schooled me. Pat and SJP both had such an amazing understanding how colour, print and silhouette worked on the screen, being around them and being a part of their creative process was magical – and mythical! AnnaSophia Robb came to meet me wide-eyed… She had an open mind and an appetite for fashion. We have a great dialogue and she pretty much defers to me to help her (stylistically) become Carrie Bradshaw. I wouldn't say it was difficult but initially a bit daunting and challenging to recreate this style icon. Once we got into the groove it became very natural and inspired.

For inspiration I refreshed my 80s fashion sense… Having been a fashion curious teen in the 80s was an added bonus. I rewatched all of the John Hughes classics as well as a mix of quiet CT inspired hometown films like Ordinary People, and of course getting out my high school yearbooks. NYC becomes an important part to her character and style as well, so I poured through Interview mags from the era as well as films like Liquid Sky, Slaves of New York and Desperately Seeking Susan. Fortunately there is a lot of 80s inspired fashion trending right now, so keeping an aspirational authenticity to the look is a very realistic concept. Designers were slightly way of getting involved to begin with… It was a bit like pulling teeth but designers are always skeptical of being involved in a new show (even if it is Carrie Bradshaw!). But as time goes on more and more are very willing and very keen to be featured Carrie Bradshaw is so smart and always looks fantastic… I think she changed the landscape of TV meets fashion as a pop culture phenomenon forever. My favourite ever Carrie outfit was the Dirndl dress she wore to a picnic with her besties. I loved dressing all of the Gossip Girl characters… To choose one would be like selecting a favourite child. Each character, each look is very dear to me, a complete and great experience!

Blake Lively was a dream to work with… She is so beautiful, so curious. She had a passion for fashion and really jumped into that world head on, and with such grace and glamour. It was wonderful to be a part of her growth and watch as she became such a savy, credible fashion sensation. The night I won an Emmy was magical… To be a part of a celebrated team, to be on stage watching and admiring Patricia as she gave her acceptance speech, it was truly a once in a life time moment. I couldn't be more honoured to have been a part of it. I also carried my Emmy on the plane the next day and the airlines bumped me up to first class! I have worked with many other celebrities… Many for movies - Kim Basinger, Isabella Rosellini, Gretchen Moll, Adrian Grenier, Russell Crowe, Jeff Bridges, Willem Dafoe. On Gossip Girl I got a real treat to dress Elizabeth Hurley who is amazing with a body to die for, we had a lot of fun together. I think Kate Middleton's style is very Blair Waldorf… She has a great sense of style and ease to her. I think she really embodies a modern day princess. She always has just the right amount of stylistic flair and discretion.

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