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From the neon brights and fingerless gloves of an '80s era Carrie Bradshaw on The Carrie Diaries to the high-class couture sported by your favorite Gossip Girl, costume designer Eric Daman has certainly left his mark on the small screen. He's also made the fledgling CW network a much more stylish destination, turning the little network into a big name when it comes to fashion. With The Carrie Diaries ending its run and Gossip Girl having signed her last "xoxo," Daman is likely to be in high demand for productions looking for his magic touch. Until he finds his next gig, the viewing public will remain in desperate need of styling tips from our television fashion idols. Thankfully, we managed to track down Eric Daman to ask our most pressing fashion questions, from how to adopt '80s trends without looking like a throwback, to what our favorite Gossip Girl characters would be sporting in 2014.
The weather is finally warm and spring has sprung, so what are your top tips for killing it sartorially this spring? What trends should we all keep an eye out for?
ED: "For spring this year, what's trending are pretty pastels in hi-tech silhouettes. Vintage bomber jackets are getting a modern makeover. Skirts are getting longer (the retro tea length is gaining popularity). And boxy tops in shift shape are giving the body con trend a run for its money. Carrie's 'Carrie Bag' would certainly be on trend with the giant designer DIY movement underfoot. The low heeled pump is seeing a moment in the sun, while the kaleidoscopic print is still on trend and being mixed with other print patterns for emphasis. Tribal stripes and fringe are enjoying worldwide appeal. Lace and open-weave are on board this spring, and metallic hasn't lost is foot-hold either. My top tip is to be mindful of what I call the allure of the hybrid: structural, material, visual, and cultural hybrids are the name of the game overall this coming year in style."
If you were still dressing the characters of Gossip Girl today, in 2014, what would today's Serena outfit look like? What would Blair be wearing? How about Chuck?
ED: "Serena would definitely be hanging out at Coachella, in maybe a soft-hard beautiful broiderie anglaise Isabel Marant top in soft pinks and whites with layer-cakey ruffley details, a lite-puff shoulder and see-through seams. She'd pair it with something by Emilio Pucci, either black-and-white graphic shorts or a rainbow metallic mini with Nicholas Kirkwood sleek pointed zig-zag leather and suede pumps in orange, turquoise, and pink. She'd throw on a shaggy Proenza Schouler coat if the evening got a little chilly, with a pair of retro-deco earrings that sparkle by the light of the bonfire."
"Blair would be having lunch at the Pierre Hotel, very much in a calf-length Burberry pencil skirt in structured lace with Byzantine inspired crystal cluster embellishments. She'd wear an Elie Saab watercolor shouldered top, under a floral embossed Christian Dior vivid orange half jacket, with an Alexander McQueen studded black nappa leather knucklebox clutch and Christian Louboutin Bollywood Boulevard PVC pumps."
"Chuck would be at the cricket club with the urban daddy crowd for a quick round in a Bastiaan Van Gaalen polo shirt, summer weight Moncler blue quilted blazer with white trim, a Salvatore Ferragamo vest, Louis Vuitton plaid trousers, and a Jimmy Choo tassled summer loafer."
What's one current trend you think the Gossip Girl characters would love? You're always taking trends and making them your own. How would you have made the trend Upper East Side worthy?
ED: "I can see a 2014 version of Uptown meets Downtown in looks where Renaissance-inspired maximalism meets tribalistic geometry."
What are the challenges of working with time period costuming for The Carrie Diaries? How do you keep things fresh while still staying true to the '80s?
ED: "We knew we had to be honest and address the '80s, but we had to be honest in a selective way from an editorial perspective. The term 'aspirational authenticity' was a guiding mantra that served reliably. I wanted to do justice to styles of the '80s that were inspiring designers from Calvin Klein to Dolce and Gabbana to Balmain to Marc by Marc Jacobs to Charlotte Ronson to DKNY, all the way down the fashion food chain to include fast fashion purveyors like TopShop, UrbanOutfitters, Zara, and H&M. There was so much '80s inspired fashion available by contemporary designers and retailers, the opportunity to select the most flattering of the range of choices was clearly the best direction."
For people who love The Carrie Diaries fashion but don't want to look like they just walked out of a vintage MTV video, how can you translate that killer '80s fashion into a more modern look?
ED: "I know what you mean. I made a point to keep it a camouflaged combination of vintage and contemporary designs, which is kind of a very '80s approach to begin with. I indulged a bit in my irresistable desire to mix and blend actual vintage pieces from the '80s, which we acquired from Bill Blass, Norma Kamali, Thierry Mugler, Arnold Scaasi, and Sonya Rykiel, with modern fashions like Missoni, American Apparel, Modcloth, Nasty Gal, and Mara Hoffman. We used accessories by Alexis Bittar, Alex Woo, Swarovski, Alex Woo, and Magdalena Stokalska among many others."
As a huge fan of Gossip Girl and an even bigger fan of the fashion, I have to ask what some of your all-time favorite looks were from the series.
ED: "That's a tough one. I'll make a deal with you. I'll tell you some of my favorite episodes and you can extrapolate the outfits from there...Season 1: 'Hi Society.' Season 2: 'Summer Kind of Wonderful.' Season 3: 'Last Tango, then Paris.' Season 4: 'The Undergraduate.' Season 5: 'GG.' Season 6: 'New York I love You XOXO.'"
What were your favorite looks from Gossip Girl and The Carrie Diaries? Share in the comments!
Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
In This Means War – a stylish action/rom-com hybrid from director McG – Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Pine (Star Trek) star as CIA operatives whose close friendship is strained by the fires of romantic rivalry. Best pals FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are equally accomplished at the spy game but their fortunes diverge dramatically in the dating realm: FDR (so nicknamed for his obvious resemblance to our 32nd president) is a smooth-talking player with an endless string of conquests while Tuck is a straight-laced introvert whose love life has stalled since his divorce. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a pretty plucky consumer-products evaluator who piques both their interests in separate unrelated encounters. Tuck meets her via an online-dating site FDR at a video-rental store. (That Lauren is tech-savvy enough to date online but still rents movies in video stores is either a testament to her fascinating mix of contradictions or more likely an example of lazy screenwriting.)
When Tuck and FDR realize they’re pursuing the same girl it sparks their respective competitive natures and they decide to make a friendly game of it. But what begins as a good-natured rivalry swiftly devolves into romantic bloodsport with both men using the vast array of espionage tools at their disposal – from digital surveillance to poison darts – to gain an edge in the battle for Lauren’s affections. If her constitutional rights happen to be violated repeatedly in the process then so be it.
Lauren for her part remains oblivious to the clandestine machinations of her dueling suitors and happily basks in the sudden attention from two gorgeous men. Herein we find the Reese Witherspoon Dilemma: While certainly desirable Lauren is far from the irresistible Helen of Troy type that would inspire the likes of Tuck and FDR to risk their friendship their careers and potential incarceration for. At several points in This Means War I found myself wondering if there were no other peppy blondes in Los Angeles (where the film is primarily set) for these men to pursue. Then again this is a film that wishes us to believe that Tom Hardy would have trouble finding a date so perhaps plausibility is not its strong point.
When Lauren needs advice she looks to her boozy foul-mouthed best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Essentially an extension of Handler’s talk-show persona – an acquired taste if there ever was one – Trish’s dialogue consists almost exclusively of filthy one-liners delivered in rapid-fire succession. Handler does have some choice lines – indeed they’re practically the centerpiece of This Means War’s ad campaign – but the film derives the bulk of its humor from the outrageous lengths Tuck and FDR go to sabotage each others’ efforts a raucous game of spy-versus-spy that carries the film long after Handler’s shtick has grown stale.
Business occasionally intrudes upon matters in the guise of Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a Teutonic arms dealer bent on revenge for the death of his brother. The subplot is largely an afterthought existing primarily as a means to provide third-act fireworks – and to allow McGenius an outlet for his ADD-inspired aesthetic proclivities. The film’s action scenes are edited in such a manic quick-cut fashion that they become almost laughably incoherent. In fairness to McG he does stage a rather marvelous sequence in the middle of the film in which Tuck and FDR surreptitiously skulk about Lauren's apartment unaware of each other's presence carefully avoiding detection by Lauren who grooves absentmindedly to Montel Jordan's "This Is How We Do It." The whole scene unfolds in one continuous take – or is at least craftily constructed to appear as such – captured by one very agile steadicam operator.
Whatever his flaws as a director McG is at least smart enough to know how much a witty script and appealing leads can compensate for a film’s structural and logical deficiencies. He proved as much with Charlie’s Angels a film that enjoys a permanent spot on many a critic’s Guilty Pleasures list and does so again with This Means War. The film coasts on the chemistry of its three co-stars and only runs into trouble when the time comes to resolve its romantic competition which by the end has driven its male protagonists to engage in all manner of underhanded and duplicitous activities. This Means War being a commercial film – and likely an expensive one at that – Witherspoon's heroine is mandated to make a choice and McG all but sidesteps the whole thorny matter of Tuck and FDR’s unwavering dishonesty not to mention their craven disregard for her privacy. (They regularly eavesdrop on her activities.) For all their obvious charms the truth is that neither deserves Lauren – or anything other than a lengthy jail sentence for that matter.
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