09/29/2008 at 01:00 AM EDT
's 1,100-sq.-ft. fashion closet in Long Island City, N.Y., houses the finds that keep Manhattan's richest TV teens looking their best. No wonder stars Blake Lively
and Leighton Meester
covet their characters' clothes. "They know their closets inside and out, and sometimes they'll ask to borrow stuff," says costume designer Eric Daman, who stocks Moschino, Ralph Lauren and Nanette Lepore for "proper, prim and very glamorous" Blair (Meester) and edgier looks from Vena Cava, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Alexander Wang for the "tousled and thrown together" Serena (Lively). Blake is such a fan that "in one fitting we put her in this leather jacket; two minutes later she was on the phone ordering it from Bendel's," says Daman. "If she loves it that much, I must be doing a great job."
"These girls carry Chanel bags," says Daman, who also uses Mulberry and Devi Kroell. "But you can get bags at Forever 21 that still look great."
Daman collects jewelry "everywhere," resulting in a mix of edgy stone pieces from Gemma Redux to pretty pendants from the Disney Princess collection.
BY THE NUMBERS
8 Average number of costume changes per character per show
75 Average number of alterations performed each day
$20,000 The price of a pair of Ferragamo boots worn by Blake Lively
$650,000 The price of a Van Cleef & Arpels brooch worn by Kelly Rutherford (the piece was the most expensive single item ever featured on the show)
10,000 Number of garments in the closet at any given time
1,200 Pairs of shoes
THEIR SHOE STYLE
Daman uses everything from Delman flats to Valentino pumps. Also: Nine West, Tory Burch, D&G.
Headbands—printed, peacock or plain—quickly became a part of Blair's "smart and cute" look.
Serena's "inspiration wall" (center) is filled with models. "She is like French Vogue and Blair is American Vogue," says Daman.
Daman was inspired by Kate Moss
's eclectic glamour, but admits "that nonchalant look is hard to do. You don't want it to feel 'styled,' but it's a precise look. She's the kind of person everyone hates because they look beautiful in cutoffs and a vest they found in a flea market."
Some of Blair's looks, like this Marc by Marc Jacobs frock, "have a tongue-in-cheek feel," Daman says, "but they're always appropriate."
Daman collected images of Hollywood icons (above, center) to inspire Blair's "meticulous and well-thought-out" look, he says. "She is someone who has been working on her look for years.... It's very inspired by Jacqueline Onassis and Audrey Hepburn."