Episode Summary: It’s a masquerade! And a costume party! Because these people have nothing better to do than to design fanciful outfits to wear. But, oh wait, Blair does. Which is why she makes Little J act as her slave aka “the handmaiden,” but only until she discovers that gatecrashing a party isn’t exclusive to Upper East Siders. Nate moons over his dad, and then Serena, and then Serena again, even though she’s too busy being passive aggressive with Dan and Vanessa to notice he’s alive. Naturally, because Nate can only focus on one thing at a time (especially not if it’s shiny and in a costume), he doesn’t have enough time to complete Blair’s kinky scavenger hunt at the Masquerade Ball in time to claim his prize. And Chuck, well...he’s Chuck. Except this time he’s at least warning girls in advance with his costume of choice, which is fittingly devilish.
Weirdly, a lot of sleepwear this episode. In fact, having skimmed the recaps for episodes 1 through 5 of the first season, they do like their pajamas. Except Serena’s isn’t what I would necessarily call “pajamas.” It’s shiny pink satin, with a demure lace trim on the neckline and the hem. Let’s also take a moment to lust after how perfectly coiffed S manages to be in the morning.
Pink is Serena’s friend this episode. In fact, do we ever see Serena wear this much baby pink again? I don’t think so. I really like the cut of this top; I wish we could have seen more of it. Maybe even the bottom of the outfit—if there was a bottom to the outfit? With Serena, sometimes it’s tough to tell.
Serena apparently dresses only to change back into another robe, which I wouldn’t have included considering the deluge of loungewear we’re treated to this episode, except that the color is stunning and stunning on Serena. Sometimes it’s easy (and perhaps a bit cliché) to always go for the baby pastels if you’re a blond-haired, blue-eyed Amazonian Barbie like Serena, but rich, saturated colors, like this gorgeous permission-y coral, almost work better.
One of the best parts of this episode is, of course, the Masquerade Ball, because Eric Daman and Co. get to go absolutely hog wild with feathers and fur and jewels and masks. Oh la la! Serena’s mask is a beautiful gold filigree, the pattern almost butterfly-like.
Here’s a wider shot for the full effect, though I’m not exactly sure what’s going on in her hair. Eric Daman seems to have equated masquerade with feathers. Not sure how the two are connected, but more than one character is wearing strangely feathered headpieces. Serena’s sticks out of the back of her head, kind of like Pocahontas. Also reminiscent of Pocahontas is Serena’s odd black fur capelet, that kind of looks like a dead animal perched on her shoulders.
Let me preface this by saying that the entire “costume”—because we can’t really call this an outfit, it’s definitely a costume—is not as good as the pieces individually. My initial impression of the look was a good one, but the more I looked at it, the less I liked it. Finally I figured out that it’s the dress. I hate it. The crepe skirt looks cheap and flimsy, kind of like toilet paper. I do like the gloves—they add something to the look, and I don’t even mind the necklace, though I’m not usually a fan of drop pendants with a high-waisted dress. The silver sequin belt, however, really pushes the whole costume into a “cheap” zone and keeps it there. Once you go sequins, you can’t really go back (though this is something Serena has yet to discover).
I almost always love Blair’s clothes, especially Season 1 and early Season 2. This episode is definitely no exception. She really brings it this episode, with fun, flirty, and flattering pieces. You’d almost like to think she was trying extra hard, in the hopes that Nate would take one look at one of her sumptuous ensembles, grab her and take her virginity once and for all.
Usually when we see Blair in loungewear, it’s silk and frilly. This dark navy, almost purple, velvet robe is a nice exception to the rule. The fabric looks both sumptuous and comfortable—not that the latter matters much to Blair Waldorf.
J’adore this next outfit of Blair’s. The navy shorts—short, but not Serena short—the French blue button-up with contrasting collar and placket and the little pink cardigan are flawless. I miss these casual outfits of Blair’s and also Eric Daman’s ability to show clothes that high school girls might actually wear when they’re just hanging out.
A close up of the cardigan—since me and all cardigans are in a semi-serious relationship, and I crave this one. Do you see the little tiny sequins? Note to Serena: this is how you do sequins. Plus, a bonus gold star because you can see Dorota in the background!
Of course, Blair goes all out for the Masquerade Ball. This is Blair we’re talking about. She doesn’t know how to do things halfway. However, she does manage to avoid the issue that befell Serena—while she’s definitely overloaded on the same feathers, sequins, and trimming that S embraced, everything Blair is wearing is black. Going the monochromatic route, especially with black, tones down the excessiveness and makes it look more expensive even though yes, she is wearing marabou feather-trimmed, opera-length satin gloves.
A close-up of the mask. Blair would never deign to tie a mask around her head. How plebian.
While Serena’s mask definitely looked expensive, this one looks downright luxurious. Very Gothic Marie Antoinette. I had to include a picture of the back of her hair, because it’s stunning. Wearing your hair up in a bunch of curls like that can get very prom-y, but the intricacy of the arrangement instead makes it elegant.
There’s only one real issue that I have with Blair’s Masquerade costume: it’s a darkly lit scene and since Blair’s wearing all black, it’s very hard to make out all the details. Plus, the morons that shot the episode apparently didn’t get the memo that I wanted to see all of Blair’s costume, and we never really see the whole thing for longer than micro-seconds.
But, despite this issue, we’re going to do the best that we can, yes? Yes. Blair never condones giving up.
Blair would wear the biggest crown she could find to an event like this—if you’re wearing a mask and trying to maintain the ludicrous concept that you can’t be recognized, Blair would still want everyone to know she’s the Queen B. I mentioned earlier how much I hate the feathers that the hair stylists used so liberally. In their defense, I hate them a little less in Blair’s hair, though they still seem bizarre and out of place. If there had been more of them, maybe like a feathered headpiece, instead of just one or two stuck haphazardly out of Blair’s updo, I think the effect might have been mitigated.
Serena mentions at the beginning of the episode that she’s heard something about a custom-made corset. It’s never specified whose corset she’s referring to, but from the picture, it must be Blair’s. Her outfit looks like a corset with a sequined lace cape over it.
What I didn’t realize before I started this recap, even though I’ve watched this episode more than once, is that Blair’s dress isn’t really a dress at all. It’s really a short skirt with train.
Normally, a shudder would accompany that phrase, but Blair is working the crap out of this. The lace tights, the boots, the train. It all works. Of course, you’d never see Blair Waldorf walking down the street like this, but then wearing something that, in theory, makes you unrecognizable is the whole point. In fact, I don’t even hate the feathers from this angle, which says it all.
Upon further reflection, this isn’t Gothic Marie Antoinette. This is Kinky Marie Antoinette. I keep expecting Blair to pull out some chains or a whip.
The male side of the Non-Judging Breakfast Club just isn’t as fun. In fact, Nate’s clothing is as much fun as his personality after he’s spent all day smoking up with Chuck.
It appears he likes blue—or else his mother likes him in blue, and therefore buys a lot of blue clothes. His robe and t-shirt are even the same shade of blue.
His day attire is nearly identical to his pajamas. At this point, you probably also feel like spending the day with Chuck, if only to protect against the monotony.
Nate’s costume to the Masquerade is so typical—AKA Nate giving the least effort possible. Naturally, he goes as an actual character, taking the whole thing perhaps a bit too literally. Which character?
The Phantom of the Opera!
Admittedly, he makes a very nice looking Phantom.
The rest of Nate’s “costume” seems to be cobbled together from clothes he already had on hand. A regular tuxedo jacket and pants, with a white shirt (is that lace on the placket? I really hope not). He throws a cape on and his mask and calls it good.
Chuck, on the other hand, isn’t messing around. When he goes to a Masquerade, he brings it. But first, what does Chuck wear when he and Nate spend all day getting high? Blue? Gray? Some shade between the two?
As if. Chuck Bass would die before dressing like Nate. Instead he pairs a baby pink argyle sweater with a pale yellow shirt with pink stripes. Only Chuck could resemble an Easter egg and still ooze testosterone.
This episode also answers the age-old question: does Chuck Bass wear jeans?
The answer is yes, and my proof is below:
Definitely jeans. Can’t you tell how relieved I am? I was afraid the poor boy considered them too proletariat for his tastes.
I kind of harped on Nate for going too literal with the Masquerade Ball. Chuck, however, gets a free pass, because he clearly picked up some excellent marketing strategies from dear old Dad.
Such a great mask. The reddish-black color variations and the shadowy molding, even the exaggeration of the nose, make him look both evil and hot. Wait. . .that’s Chuck MO. In any case, there’s clearly truth in advertising here.
And what to pair with such a devilish mask? Why a red suit, of course.
Complete with red bow tie, and even a matching pocket square. Maybe Chuck needs to spend less time smoking with Nate, and more time discussing how to properly accessorize.
Technically, Katy and Iz are more . . .hangers-on . . .than part of the Fab Four, but we’re going to make an exception, because they’re wearing too many feathers and bows and ruffles to fit in with the Brooklyn-ites.
Of the two dresses, Iz is definitely out-shining Katy here, but I hate the belts. Tacky, metallic patent leather would not be allowed within ten miles of the Waldorf penthouse. But the muted floral pattern of Iz’s robe/dress (hard to tell exactly what it is), almost makes up for the cheap, ugly belt. Katy’s weirdly sequined peasant blouse doesn’t even come close.
But being good little minions, they know to bring their A game for the Masquerade Ball.
One of my favorite parts of Katy and Iz is taking their looks apart piece by piece and comparing what is the same and what’s unique about them. They dress so in sync and yet so different, which isn’t easy to do. Their masks are a perfect example of this. They’re a very similar shape, but while Katy’s is silver, with matching silver etching and pearl trim, Iz is rocking this intricately patterned baby pink and black mask.
Katy’s strapless purple gown, adorned with fairly intricate beading, takes a lot of its cues from the monochromatic look that Blair wears. Iz gets into trouble by apparently bedazzling her similar pink dress with cheap, plastic gems. I have to add, if you’re going to wear feathers, this is the way to do it—don’t stick one or two in your hair, go full on Vegas showgirl.