GOSSIP GIRL: ULTIMATE TV TREND SETTER

FROM THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

I did watch the first few episodes of GOSSIP GIRL last fall.

Found the actors attractive and the characters interesting. It’s a fun, entertaining show.

But now it seems that, like other similar programs about the gloriously wealthy that are targeted to teens and twentysomethings (THE OC is the most recent example I can think of), it’s becoming a source of inspiration for the fashion forward.

In anticipation of the second season of GOSSIP GIRL, the real life gossip is flying fast. But it doesn’t concern the plot.

It’s all about the clothes.

While many television shows have captured the hearts of fashion’s in crowd in the past, none have done so with the teen set and its emerging buying influence as GOSSIP GIRL has, said GLORIA BAUME, the fashion director of TEEN VOGUE.

The nighttime soap, which begins its second season on SEPTEMBER 1, has become known more for its fashion than its scripted drama. The styles worn by its hot young stars are influencing viewers of all ages.

“Something about it has really captured peoples’ imaginations,” said KEITH CAROLLO, the buyer for online outlet fredflare.com.

“I’m pretty confident that designers are looking at it. They’re young, beautiful and rich. That’s totally what those designers are designing for.”

Ms. Baume agrees that the show’s influence has broadened past its designated audience, affecting not just the ultrastylish but designers like CHANEL, where KARL LAGERFELD’S recent resort runway show featured “a lot of denim, high waisted denim, and it had the influence of this super chic, young girl, Upper East Side that is very elite and privileged.”

The show’s costume designer, ERIC DAMAN, also sees his work influencing retail. “I just saw a Zara window that is totally imitating Chuck Bass’ looks from upcoming episodes that have been previewed on the web,” Mr. Daman said via e-mail, busy after styling the GOSSIP GIRL inspired windows at HENRI BENDEL.

For the second season, Mr. Daman said he was inspired by art and film. “Blair is moving in a very Art Deco feel, mirroring the paintings of Tamara De Lempicka. And Serena feels like a Klimt to me; Chuck Bass as a young Sean Connery circa Hitchcock’s Marnie.”

Looks from the first season that have popped off television screens and into malls have been headbands, which one retail buyer says is related to another trend from the show: the prim dressage that’s always in style in that tony Manhattan neighbourhood.

“It’s unbelievable to me how the headband has made a resurgence,” marvels GARTH MADER, director of buying at ENDLESS.com, who admits that the e commerce site hadn’t anticipated that the trend would blow up. Many characters, including queen bee Blair Waldorf, wore the accessory in nearly every episode. “It goes with the whole preppy thing. Especially I think you see that on Blair.”

To better prepare for looks that might show up after the program’s premiere, Mr. Mader stated that he and other buyers look at blogs and other websites that track celebrities and get tips about what stylists have picked up from vendors.

One trend that’s upcoming: high heeled penny loafers. Structured bags will be hot – as will the entire range of deep purple and plum colours for fall.

Ms. Baume is predicting punk elements from some recent runway shows by MARC JACOBS and BALMAIN for SERENA and JENNY HUMPHREY (TAYLOR MOMSEN), a younger student from Brooklyn desperate to fit in with Blair’s crowd.

“Jenny is the downtown girl. But she doesn’t have the money to wear the expensive clothes so she remakes them in her own cool way.”

Much like the show itself, Ms. Baume fully expects looks that are “a little exaggerated, a little over the top, a little amusing.”

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