How the glam team behind the “Gossip Girl” reboot reimagined the series’ iconic looks for Gen Z

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While Hollywood is currently fixated on live-action remakes of beloved animated films and revivals of hit TV programs from the 1990s and 2000s, “Gossip Girl” has shown the world how to properly execute a reboot. With its return to television, the teen favorite from the late 2000s and early 2010s has bridged the gap between two generations of viewers.

By skillfully blending fresh and new storylines with the original show’s essence, the new “Gossip Girl” has not only set a new benchmark for reboots but also managed to do it with flair and panache.

The original “Gossip Girl” series dominated the cultural conversation for five years, setting fashion trends and inspiring envy with each impeccably styled episode. The new version of the show is no different, as it features a diverse cast and reflects the current tastes of wealthy Gen Zers. The fashion landscape has evolved, and headbands are out while shaved heads are all the rage.

Crafting the appearances

While the artists made some preparations before the show, most of the looks for both departments had to be assembled on the fly.

“We shoot one episode in 10 days. And, you know, we could start the morning with a school look, which we try to keep a little more simple. And then we could end the day of shooting with, you know, some big events. So you have to, you know, you might have 30 minutes to change them over,” Jennifer says of the hair department’s on-set process.”

Amy noted that her makeup team has very little time to create the looks for the show, often finding out what the characters are wearing only the night before or the morning of filming. Despite the tight schedule, the team is trusted by the creators and showrunner to come up with the right look on the spot, relying on in-the-moment inspiration rather than detailed planning.

According to her, the essential elements of the show are storytelling and coherence. She explained that the showrunner had detailed discussions with the team about each character’s backstory and journey in the new version of the series, which served as a foundation for creating their distinctive looks and styles. This approach allowed the team to develop a cohesive visual narrative that complements the characters’ personalities and arcs.

Amy and Jennifer, who were the heads of their respective departments for both the original “Gossip Girl” and its reboot, have brought their expertise and vision to the new season. Although the reboot has its own distinct style, Amy has noticed some echoes of the previous series in the makeup looks, which reflect the same attention to detail and quality that made the original show a sensation.

Audrey Gossip Girl

Emily Alyn Lind as Audrey Hope

Zoya Straight Hair

Whitney Peak as Zoya Lott

Beauty highlights from the show

Jennifer discussed some of her favorite outfits from earlier episodes by saying, “Whitney, actually in like the first or second episode, she just had her hair, like straight, slicked back behind her.” This was one of Jennifer’s favorite looks from an earlier season.

Jennifer also provided a sneak peek at a few of the unique hairstyles appearing in upcoming shows. I’ve begun doing something with Jordan, so… I’ve begun to decorate her head with crystals, and it looks really lovely. I made this chain headdress that I adore in episode 10. It appears to be so lovely.

The products they swear by

Amy uses a variety of products when creating makeup looks, but the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way she and her crew work on set.

“This season was obviously different than shooting any season of any show ever because of COVID. So one of the things that happened while we’re doing this show is that we do these beautiful makeups in the trailer, and then spray them with setting spray, which I wasn’t doing in the past. You do this beautiful makeup and then all of a sudden, they have to put a mask on like an N95 and it’s heartbreaking… There’s one from Charlotte Tilbury [Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray] that’s like a nice fine mist.”