Trendsetter vs follower: comparing the old and new ‘Gossip Girl’

Stylists on Gossip Girl created new trends and experimented when coming up with the characters outfits.

Photo used with permission from Google Commons

Stylists on Gossip Girl created new trends and experimented when coming up with the characters’ outfits.

In the midst of the 2000s, where denim on red carpets was the status quo and scarves were worn year-round, the CW released “Gossip Girl,” a show centered around the lives of rich teens living in the Upper East Side of New York City. The show often featured clothing from luxury fashion houses and had a sophistication that was ahead of the time. Fast forward to now – HBO Max has put out a reboot of “Gossip Girl,” set 10 years after the original aired. While the plot is interesting to follow, the fashion, which had been highly anticipated, leaves a lot to be desired. 

Articles have mentioned that the reboot is trying to follow the fashion trends popular now, and connect with its Gen Z audience. However, this attempt hasn’t panned out. One of the best things about the original show’s fashion was the risks taken with clothes and the unexpectedness. You were never able to predict what a character would wear next. However, with the reboot, all the outfits feel similar and nothing is new. If you saw something as outfit inspiration on your Instagram feed two months ago, it likely appears on the reboot. The new show doesn’t spice up the looks or take chances with fashion and it’s evident in the final product.

One of the most curious things about this is that the costume designer, Eric Daman, worked on both shows. Daman also assisted costuming in “Sex & the City,” and the team won a primetime Emmy. Daman obviously can style shows extremely well, as proved in SATC and even more so in “Gossip Girl,” but when the time came around for the reboot something changed. 

While the reboot seems like a caricature of GenZ Fashion the original show would reject fashion trends of the time and pave new ground. One of the main characters, Blair Waldorf, played by Leighton Meester, had a signature sophisticated look, wearing brands like Moschino, Marc Jacobs and Oscar De La Renta throughout the seasons. Alongside Blair was Serena Van Der Woodsen, played by Blake Lively. Lively had a carefree persona on the show and that translated to her style. She was often spotted in long flowy dresses and boho styles. Like her counterpart Blair, she had a repertoire of sophisticated gowns from Zuhair Murad and other luxury fashion houses. The versatility and idiosyncratic nature of each character’s wardrobes are what made the show so visually appealing. 

The reboot attempted to incorporate more GenZ fashion trends, like thrifting minimalism and street style. While this look would be perfectly passable for any other contemporary show, it simply doesn’t fit with the precedent the original show set. The whole point of Gossip Girl’s fashion was to experiment and try things that haven’t been done before. The reboot is only recycling current trends and giving the viewer what they think they want to see, as opposed to pushing boundaries. 

Overall, the reboot follows trends and uses them to guide the styling. The original set trends and that quality is what setsit so far above.