The Original Gossip Girl Premiere Was a 2007 Fashion Time Capsule

The cast of the original Gossip Girl.
Photo by Larry Busacca/WireImage

As creator Josh Schwartz’s follow-up to The O.C., the original Gossip Girl had a little bit of buzz when it premiered back in 2007. But no one could predict the cultural touchstone it would become. Still, The CW managed to stage a premiere party at Tenjune, the former Meatpacking District nightclub that was a celebrity hotspot at the time. Still relatively unknown, the cast—including Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, Taylor Momsen, and Penn Badgley—made their best attempts at establishing public images as burgeoning style stars, and the result was peak 2007 style. Top designers weren’t knocking down the cast’s doors to dress them just yet, and fear of winding up in a tabloid’s “Fashion Police” column still sent shivers down Hollywood stylists’ spines. We weren’t quite getting the confidently individual looks we see from young Hollywood today (like, say, at the recent 2021 Gossip Girl premiere). What we did get, however, is something of a realistic red carpet reflection of what young people were wearing at the time on a day-to-day basis. Take a look back at the 2007 time capsule, here.

Leighton Meester
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There’s no headband or designer tote to be found, but Blair Waldorf’s onscreen style might have informed Leighton Meester’s premiere look. Blair, much more than the other girls on the show, knew the power of graphic black and white. Meester, however, made it nightclub appropriate with this sequined mini-dress.

Blake Lively
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We’re not sure who made Blake Lively’s suit, but we know exactly what circa 2007 trend she’s channeling here. Earlier that year Hedi Slimane, the artistic director now at Celine, had left his post at Dior Homme. While his mandate was officially menswear, the super skinny suits he sent down the runway quickly became a favorite among chicer female clientele. Lively was already setting herself apart as the cast’s biggest IRL fashion risk-taker, and her suit choice constituted a bit of foreshadowing to her now-infamous stint of only wearing suits to promote her 2018 movie A Simple Favor.

Jessica Szohr
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Wearing a slouchy mini-dress with a bit of Art Deco influence, Jessica Szohr was definitely sticking to the 2007 starlet fashion playbook.

Taylor Momsen
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Ah, Taylor Momsen’s big pink dress! You could easily imagine Paris Hilton wearing it at the time, though you just might as easily see Avril Lavigne pairing such a frock with a pair of dirty Chucks, a fishnet demi-glove, black leather, and smeared black eyeliner to give it that “good girl gone punk” look which was so popular at the time. Momsen’s personal style would start out as the former, and wind up closer to the latter during the show’s run.

Nan Zhang
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Nan Zhang, who played one of Blair’s worker bees, opted for a chic turquoise dress with a draping feature. The look underscores the starlet-favored silhouette at the time—it was something like a delicate, fancy sack that hid any curves, but did highlight your legs and arms.

Nicole Fiscella
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Nicole Fiscella, who was another founding member of Blair’s mean girl clique, didn’t seem to get much chance to pose for a solo picture (rude!), but also opted for that specific party dress silhouette.

Penn Badgley
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What can we say about men’s fashion in 2007? We just didn’t have much expectations for the boys back then. You were either pulling off something classic, going for the skinny suit (although Lively already had that locked down), or just kind of dressing like a schlub. So gaze upon Badgley’s untucked shiny shirt, we guess.

Chace Crawford
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Crawford clearly put more time into his hair than his outfit, but unlike Badgley, he did demonstrate his ability to tuck in a shirt and button a jacket, at least.

And, look, we don’t mean to place blame on the individuals, here. Men’s fashion in 2007 was a systemic problem.

Ed Westwick
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This guy.....

Anyway, Westwick is British, and clearly took some style cues from the “someone managed to trick Pete Doherty into wearing a suit” style of dressing. It was actually considered pretty advanced in 2007.

Kelly Rutherford and Matthew Settle
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Kelly Rutherford reminds us that it was technically legal to wear a full-length dress in 2007, but Matthew Settle apparently confirms that no man knew how to properly wear a tie at the time.

Kate Mara
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The premiere did not attract that many other celebs (Sherri Shepherd and some people from America’s Next Top Model were the biggest names in attendance). But a pre-fame Kate Mara did show up. She was years away from her breakout role in House of Cards, and still managed to secure the hottest trend of the moment: the starlet sack dress!