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Gossip Girl : End of a fashion era

Courtney Cox | Sunday, October 7, 2012


Limos, galas, champagne, cocaine and headbands. The inner sanctum of elite private schools in Manhattan was infiltrated five years ago when “Gossip Girl” transformed from a young adult series into a can’t-miss television show.

Today marks the beginning of the end. The window into the completely sensationalized lives of privileged twenty-somethings will close next May at the end of the show’s sixth season, and we will simply have to imagine what the future holds for Serena, Blair, Nate, Chuck and Dan.

The importance of “Gossip Girl” for the fashion world cannot be overestimated. It rivals “Sex in the City” in terms of most coveted costume closets and is often compared to the HBO show because of its setting and overall concept. It created two archetypal girls that were inspirations for countless high-fashion collections and mimicked on the street by hundreds of fans.

Blair Waldorf, the self-proclaimed “queen bee” of private girls school Constance Billard, is portrayed as the proper lady with a billionaire budget. In the first season she is shown in blazers, lace and headbands with huge bows. Her style embraces the traditional preppy schoolgirl style but elevates it to a much more stylized fashion.

Serena van Der Woodsen is the hot blonde who returns back to Constance Billard after a year in boarding schoo, l only to become the most interesting person at school. She is the portrait of easy and free-spirited style, but constrained to the acceptable modes of expression common on the Upper East Side. She deconstructs the traditional school uniform by adding leather jackets, sequined cardigans and disheveled men’s ties. 

Unlike Blair, who’s hair is always perfectly curled or pinned in an elegant fashion, Serena’s hair is always beachy, with shimmering golden waves and the occasional tiny braid hidden in with the rest of her long locks. She’s the “cool girl” to Blair’s “good girl.”

Like any other dualistic paradigm, the Serena vs. Blair dynamic also has a hidden third option.

Vanessa Abrams is the Brooklyn-based filmmaker who is introduced to the upper class Constance girls through her best friend and Serena’s occasional boyfriend, Dan Humphrey. 

At first, Vanessa was portrayed as street-wise and almost athletic, but as the first few episodes of the first season panned out, Vanessa came to embody the artsy, flea-market chic sensibilities that Brooklyn has become associated with. 

It isn’t just the ladies who reaped the benefits of being on one of the most fashionable television shows. The men also received plenty of attention from the fashion world, but they fit into the same roles as their female counterparts. 

Nate Archibald is the popular stoner with traditionally preppy style. Similar to Blair, he frequently wears clothes that look they have been ripped straight from a Ralph Lauren advertisement. Much like his character development, Nate’s wardrobe is stagnant in a classically handsome way. 

Chuck Bass, the vulnerable womanizer who is constantly in an on-again, off-again relationship with Blair, is the fashionable counterpart of Serena. He is the one male character who tries different things with fashion, from floral bowties to checkered scarves. He isn’t traditional in the way Nate is, but he certainly displays his wealth through his attire. 

Dan Humphrey is similar to Vanessa in the sense that he too wears vintage tees, jackets and military supply backpacks. As the series goes on, his style becomes more sophisticated the more he engages more with the Upper East Side culture. 

The show’s inspirational fashion choices have been a staple of the past half-decade, and once it’s over, a new show will fill the time slot it leaves open, but nothing will ever fill the void it leaves for the observant style fanatic. 

Contact Courtney Cox at
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