leighton meester eric daman

Stylish duo Leighton Meester and GG costume designer Eric Daman. Photo: Amy Sussman, Getty Images

Last night in New York City, Swarovski -- with the help of Leighton Meester and "The City's" Olivia Palmero -- celebrated "Gossip Girl" costume designer Eric Daman's new fashion-focused book "You Know You Want It: Style -- Inspiration -- Confidence," out December 15.

StyleList caught up with the author -- who was once an assistant stylist on "Sex and the City" -- for a quick 'Gossip'-fueled chat.

StyleList: How do you get inspired to start building the wardrobes for your characters?
Eric Daman:
I'm inspired by everything that's around: a homeless lady in a fake Chanel jogging suit going through the trash, an Upper East Side woman in an amazing fox skirt, downtown kids. I really think that when women dress themselves, they should be inspired by the stuff they see everyday.

SL: How are you able to channel the teenage fashion experience shown in "Gossip Girl" so well?
ED:
Well, they brought me on for a reason. I worked on "Sex and the City" but people also say I have a 16-year-old girl trapped inside of me.

I love all of the mean girl moves. I grew up around "Heathers" and that was one of my favorite movies. The producers of "Gossip Girl" knew they wanted to do something with fashion, but we didn't know how far it was going to go when we were working on the pilot.

SL: Now the characters you created -- Blair Waldorf and Serena van der Woodsen -- are icons in their own right. What's the process of styling them like?
ED:
I start with a mood board and cut out anything that goes with the character. So, for Serena, she's very sexy and the sort of inspiration is Kate Moss. It's about being tousled, putting anything on and looking fabulous. But, in the end, it actually takes a lot of effort to look that way.

And Blair, she's been studying her look since she was 8-years-old, trying on lipsticks and headbands in front of a mirror. I think of Serena [Blake Lively] and Blair [Leighton Meester] like French Vogue and American Vogue [respectively]. Blair's look is old Hollywood glamour mixed with Anna Wintour's meticulousness about fashion, whereas Serena is more about having fun. She'll find a scarf in a flea market in Paris and some great jean shorts in Belize. Blair's character is more like "Oh, I saw Audrey Hepburn wear this!"

SL: Are you surprised at Blake, Leighton and the rest of the cast becoming such fashion plates?
ED:
I've been with them from day one and I think I've helped them learn about fashion. They were all younger and from the West Coast and they weren't tuned into this world. I'm so proud of how they've grown up and to see Blake on the cover of W and Leighton doing a music video -- it's really amazing that they've come into their own.

SL: OK, we know you can't tell us who the mass-texting troublemaker "Gossip Girl" is, but maybe you can tell us what she might be wearing.
ED:
I think of her style like an undercover Russian spy in a film noir movie -- like oversized sunglasses and a big trench coat and headscarf. But she's also a little Carrie Bradshaw sitting at home with her computer in a tank top and Calvin Klein boy shorts. It's a mix of those two worlds.