While all the Net rants and raves about the style of Gossip Girl‘s Blair Waldorf and Serena Van Der Woodsen, I always drool over the outfits of Serena’s mother, Lily Van Der Woodsen. I love her character (absent-minded and indecisive yet strong, prim yet rule-breaker: she’s a woman of contrasts), her complex personal story, the mysteries and rumours about her past (she even modelled for Robert Mapplethorpe), her love for photography, rock music…and rock singers! While Blair and Serena play their own power games, Lily tries to fit herself in a new life, next to a powerful and rich husband, but she’s still haunted by her past .
She is originally from a wealthy family in California and her life has always been marked by music (her father, Rick Rhodes, was a music executive, and her greatest love, Rufus Humphrey, was the frontman of a rock band, the Lincoln Hawke, in the 80s/90s). This background, mixed to her present marital and social status, has a great importance in her style: her outfits are usually understated, formal at times, but there’s always a twist in what she wears (a detail, an accessory, a funky piece of jewellery), a reminder of her being a rock chick inside. Let’s take a look at some outfits she sports in the first season of the show.
The pilot episode of Gossip Girl introduces most of the characters of the show, Lily included. When Serena comes back to New York, her mother is at a party at the Waldorf’s. The first image of Lily we are given is very formal: she’s wearing a sleeveless black dress, her blonde hair is styled into a bun, so she’s really the image of modesty and understatement.
As the story carries on, it becomes clear what are the stamples of Lily’s style, which vaguely resembles her daughter’s: she often wears jeans or trousers, she loves cardigans and cozy cashmere sweaters in neutral colours, she sometimes wears leather jackets and trenches, and has a thing for Hermès accessories .
The look she sports in the pilot, when she visits Rufus’ art gallery, is sublime: she pairs flared jeans and a simple tank top with a long metallic leather jacket, a knitted scarf and a gorgeous Hermès Birkin bag in tan ostrich, a touch of Upper East Side in a casual outfit.
She carries the same bag (a sort of trademark) in Hi, Society, too: this outfit is all about neutrals. She wears a sweater dress, pairing it with the Birkin bag, a cashmere shawl, Hermès gold stud earrings and another Hermès piece, the Medor watch, which she always has on her wrist. This is an iconic watch, classic and punk at the same time: it looks like a studded leather bracelet, but the dial is hidden under the central stud.
Lily loves Hermès bags: she owns a Birkin and two Kellys, one black and one beige . We first see the black one during The Wild Brunch episode. In this case, she is wearing a formal outfit, made of a black skirt, a brocade short-sleeved jacket and a jacket with the jeweled neckline. The squared lines of the Kelly bag underline the formal idea which the outfit is built on.
In the Thanksgiving Day’s episode, Blair Waldorf Must Pie!, Lily carries her black Kelly bag and has again the Medor watch around her wrist. The black and white silk scarf around her neck is of course another Hermès piece. She keeps the rest of the outfit simple, with black jacket and trousers, and a long-sleeved cotton tee under the jacket.
In the same episode, at last we get a glimpse of her complex personality. Lily is not only a New York socialite, because she also has a bohemian side. I love the blouse she’s wearing at the Humphreys’ Thankgiving lunch: it is worn over a silk shirt and is intricately embroidered at the hem, with cut-outs on the sleeves. She is still wearing her trusty Medor watch around the wrist.
It has been already said that Lily finds some difficulty in forgetting her past, and this is so much true when Rufus is around. Lily asks him to be her companion at her wedding dress’ fitting. While perusing some diamond bracelets for her wedding day, the black Kelly bag can be seen hanging from her arm. The outfit she has in this scene is so nice: she pairs a green skirt with a floral printed silk shirt and a fitted jacket with black profiles. The colours apparently do not match, but the result is flawless.
While having breakfast at the New York Palace with her family in The Blair Witch Project, she’s wearing a dress with the jeweled neckline, made special by the iridescent fabric and by white profiles. Her accessory is a Hermès Kelly Double Tour bracelet, made of white leather.
In Dare Devil, while paying a visit to her son Eric, she wears another Hermès iconic piece, the Constance belt, with the big metal ‘H’ on the front. The rest of the outfit is perfect: a silk shirt with a bow, black trousers and a beige jacket.
In Victor/Victrola Lily switches her Medor watch for another Hermès watch, the Kelly 2, similar in shape to the Kelly Double Tour leather bracelet.
Here are some pics of Lily’s beloved Hermès accessories.
Lily’s Medor watch is in tan leather, while her Kelly 2 watch is in Potiron Orange leather.
Lily loves Hermès accessories, which can be considered a symbol of luxury, but she does not wear big jewels, because she likes keeping her style simple and understated most of the time. Apart from the gold stud earrings, she was also spotted wearing Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra earrings in gold and mother-of-pearl.
The clover motif is inspired to a famous Van Cleef & Arpels vintage design. Lily will wear a turquoise necklace from the same line in an episode of the second season of the show.
On the wedding day, the social status requires diamonds, so Lily wears a gorgeous diamond necklace with pearl pendants, but the rest of her look is simple. She wears flower-shaped earrings, a sublime Vera Wang strapless wedding dress and little white orchids in her hair.
Here is a better view of Lily’s wedding dress during the fitting: it’s strapless, it has draped bodice and full skirt, a precious cascade of silk flowers on one side. I love this scene, when Rufus sees Lily trying on her wedding dress: the old feelings for her resurface and this eventually will lead to the romantic scene on Lily’s wedding day.
Since Lily Van Der Woodsen is one of my favourite characters of the show (the others are Blair and Chuck, of course), I’ll devote a special space to her style in this blog, so keep in touch for some updates of her outfits from the first season.
 Lily is the title of a Gossip Girl spin-off, which intends to fill in many of the mysteries of Lily’s life before the original series. The protagonist will supposedly be played by Brittany Snow.
 Lily’s role is played by the American actress Kelly Rutherford. She has a three-year-old son, Hermès Gustaf Daniel Giersch, and is expecting another baby from her now ex husband, the German businessman Daniel Giersch. I know these are probably coincidences, but isn’t it strange that her name is the same as a Hermès bag and that she named her son Hermès? It could not be coincidental if the character she plays in Gossip Girl loves the French maison so much.
 She carries the beige Kelly in the second season.