'The Carrie Diaries': Recreating a Fashion Icon

"It’s not her strutting down New York streets in Manolos. But all of the elements are there for her to become" the adult Bradshaw, says designer Eric Daman.

Carrie Bradshaw wouldn’t be complete without her fabulous shoes or on-trend wardrobe, but that wasn't always the case. That is what the CW's The Carrie Diaries is all about. Based on the book by Candace Bushnell, the show looks at a teenage Carrie Bradshaw, played by AnnaSophia Robb, growing up in a small Connecticut town. 

So what about the clothes?

“You hear Carrie Bradshaw and all you want to do is over-stylize,” says Eric Daman, the show’s costume designer. “Really great and really amazing. So we still want her to look really great and really fabulous, but we just have to take it to the Connecticut place.”

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Not only was Daman tasked with creating a teenage Carrie Bradshaw pre-Manolos, but he also had to create costumes that were reminiscent of 1984. 

Stephanie Savage, who actually created Gossip Girl, created this term around this show. Aspirational authenticity. It’s like the best of the '80s, but everything’s still tailored. It’s not oversized,” Daman told THR in a recent interview. “You can look at it and girls at home will be like ‘Oh, that’s the H&M sweater. I’m going to go get it right now.’”

In the pilot, Carrie wears a vintage Scaasi pink and black polka dot dress that she receives from her new city friend Larissa (Freema Agyeman). The dress had to be tailored specifically for Robb, and Daman sites it as one of his favorite costumes from the show. 

“We styled it with a little jacket and I just thought it was this really great moment of seeing her as the Carrie Bradshaw we hope to see her as,” Daman said. 

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So how do the actors feel about wearing these designs that were popular before some of them were even born?

“I found my comfort zone," Agyeman gushed. "I have never felt so comfortable and less self-conscious, strangely. You know you’re so visible in these high colors and intense makeup and skyscraper hairdos.”

But it's not just the girls that get to have the fun. 

"Walt's very fashion savvy," Brendan Dooling explained of his character. "I had to do a little bit of research, find out just why he's putting together this combo." 

Austin Butler, on the other hand, who plays Carrie’s love interest Sebastian, said, “I personally don’t think the '80s was the best time for fashion. Thankfully, I’ve lucked out with leather jackets and that sort of thing.”

So will this new Carrie Bradshaw become the fashion icon that her older version became?

“I would hope so,” said Robb. 

But it certainly won't happen overnight. 

"We have, actually, an episode this season where she sort of gets her first pair of very fancy shoes and they literally and figuratively do not fit. They’re a fancier dress shoe," said Amy Harris, the show's writer. "So I don’t know if she’ll get her first pair of Manolos in the first year or two, but she’s definitely gotten her first taste of shoe love in this season."