‘Carrie Diaries’ Costume Designer Eric Daman Gives Us a Peek Inside Young Carrie Bradshaw’s Closet
While the show chronicles a young Carrie, circa the 1980s, you know when it’s Carrie — and former Gossip Girl costume designer Eric Daman is dressing her — the fashion is going to be good.
We talked to Daman to get the scoop on all the fabulous fashion we can expect when Carrie Diaries airs on Monday. Check out our interview — then take a sneak peek at the retro fashion straight from the set.
How are you translating Carrie’s SATC style for her younger self in Carrie Diaries?
ED: The approaches are very different. Keep in mind while “pre”-creating a teenage Carrie, she is still in public school in Connecticut. The Carrie Diaries of course will stay true to her idiosyncratic style by not giving in to pre-determined trends of the era but making her own. So in that sense there is a similarity, but over all it feels like a very different process.
ED: Conceptually, we hope to create an aspirational authentic look, not an overtly kitschy ’80s look. Our young CB’s style will be idiosyncratic, but quieter then the Carrie we already know. She is at an age where she is experimenting, learning and creating her individual unique style. Keeping all of this in mind when conceiving her look, I wanted to give her a unique point of view mixing colors and patterns, as well as eras. Mixing obvious ’80s-inspired items with pieces from her “mother’s closet” that feel more ’60s and ’70s with contemporary flair.
Is there a person or experience that helps to inspire Carrie’s love of fashion and personal style?
ED: [On the show] Carrie’s mom has passed recently and her closet becomes a bit of a “Pandora’s box” that inspires Carrie’s style. She has access to a Narnia of fashion from eras past, she may wear boots that seem as though they are from the ’70s (even though they are current Chloe collection) or printed tops from the ’60s (even though they are Marc by Marc Jacobs).
Carrie has a true fashion evolution the more and more she has contact with NYC. She has this amazing fashion mentor “Larissa,” the style editor from Interview Magazine that really contributes to Carrie’s blossoming original take on style. (Of course having access to the ’80s Interview fashion closet doesn’t hurt.)
Now, speaking of the ’80s, how are you adapting the trends of that era (some of which make many of us cringe like, ahem, shoulder pads) to create looks that are reflective of the time, yet inspiring to today’s fashion-loving viewers?
ED: I refreshed my ’80s fashion sense (having been a fashion curious teen in the ’80s was an added bonus) by rewatching all of the John Hughes classics, as well as a mix of quiet Connecticut-inspired hometown films like Ordinary People, and of course getting out my high school yearbooks. New York City becomes an important part to her character and style as well, so I poured through Interview magazines 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.
A lot of ’80s fashion wasn’t the cutest or most flattering. By keeping the shapes and fabrics contemporary, but playing with colors and layers, the look feels very retro-modern and cool. We are working with classic ’80s colors and prints but in modern more slimming shapes and silhouettes — not giant shoulder pads and oversized bulk.
Will Carrie have signature accessories like her name necklace on SATC?
ED: As far as signature accessories go, there’s the personalized “Carrie” bag from Mark Cross and the “C” initial pendant from Alex woo (a prelude to the signature Carrie nameplate).
What are some hallmarks of her closet (like the tutu she wears in the opening credits of SATC)?
ED: The silver sequin Top Shop dress with vintage Rainbow belt, the Autumn Cashmere lime green leopard cardi (tres Carrie B.), the fuchsia party dress with black polka dots that represents her first night out in NYC (a vintage ’80s Scasi original), her neon orange Alice and Olivia pumps.
Has young Carrie discovered her foot fetish and handbag fetish yet?
ED: She hasn’t discovered her shoe and bag fetish just yet, but as the season progresses we will definitely might see that fetish flourish and progress.
Carrie could be pretty daring — and sexy — with her fashion on SATC. How will you be toning down her style to fit a younger Connecticut Carrie?
ED: Our teen Carrie will totally take chances and be a standout style star. The “sexiness” will be replaced by confident, sweet innocence.
How does your work on Carrie Diaries compare to Gossip Girl? Dressing teenage Carrie must be a big change from the high-end designers and of-the-moment looks Blair and Serena wore.
ED: The biggest similarity is the fact that I really wanted to give each character his or her own very personalized style. As a costume designer, it is really key to help define a character through clothing, and I am lucky enough to be able to, not once but twice, push characters stylistically to really shine and stand on their own through their wardrobe choices.
The biggest difference is that Carrie and her crew are Connecticut suburban teens of mid-level affluence and not uber rich Upper East-siders, running around scheming in the latest high fashions.
What labels will young Carrie be wearing? What are some of your go-to sources for unique clothes and accessories for the show?
ED: The clothing came from a lot of my favorite haunts in NYC: Amarcord, Beacon’s Closet, Ressurrection, Cloak and Screaming Mimi’s for Vintage. I also relied on fast fashion shops like Top Shop and H&M, as well as high-end stores like Saks, to give the look its contemporary “aspirational authenticity” we hoped to develop. Of course, there will be some big-name designers sprinkled in like Marc Jacobs, Chloe, Missoni and Georges Chakra to name a few…
Why were you excited by the opportunity to dress young Carrie? What made this project so appealing to you?
ED: Dressing a young Carrie Bradshaw was at first quite intimidating but ultimately exhilarating. It was very important to keep in mind that she is a young high school student in Connecticut and still figuring out her style. And of course the era plays a huge roll in the over all look.
Follow Daman at @EricDaman_Style and on his blog as he offers an inside look at fashion, the designers he used, the stores he shopped for each week’s episode of Carrie Diaries.
Take a look back at Carrie Bradshaw’s best Sex and the City style in the video below.
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