The Interventionist: ‘Gossip Girl’ Nicole Fiscella

It’s the time of year in which you-know-who is making his list and checking it twice. Despite playing Isabel, the conniving and calamitous sidekick to the naughty Blair Waldorf on CW’s Gossip Girl, Nicole Fiscella is quite nice. It’s part two in our ‘Interventionist‘ series.

She walks into the Eldridge, a portrait of composure in real time. Her hair is loose and natural, complementing her classic oxford shirt and jeans, you would be shocked to find Fiscella was at one time a raver-girl. Although she plays a minion of the devilish Gossip Girl Queen B and co. Nicole is no follower–until it comes to fashion; usually discounting her own sense of style for the safety of a seasoned stylist. “If someone else thinks its ok, I’ll take it,” she says as we paint her eyes a pale shade of turquoise. Despite her penchant for ‘skinny bitches’ and sexy lingerie, Nicole is naturally quite tame, a classic beauty who cozies up to conventional basics, and clean lines. It was only fitting then, that we brought out her diva side with a sleek silhouette and bold baubles. As she postures on the Eldridge’s sleek banquette, Nicole is clearly no prep-school side kick terrorist, in this backless black Catherine Malandrino dress and knowing gaze, her star quality is blindingly bright.

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How has your style been influenced by the show? Dude, I’m so much more laid back now than I ever was before ‘cause I’m like dressing up all the time.

Could you put your personal style into words? Honestly, I’m trying to do this whole hippie thing now. So I’m kind of bohemian, hippie-chic?

What are some of the trends that you just cannot stand? I’m really not into wedge heels, at all. I don’t know why. I just think it’s not sexy. A stiletto heel is sexy. I’ll always wear stiletto.

Can you remember the very first trend you got into? Yeah. I was really into the whole raver thing when I was in school. So, I guess for me, it was sort of a trend. For a while it was just like wearing big jeans and little baby doll t-shirts.

Glow sticks? Yeah, exactly, so when I was in college I think that’s when I started to get a little more feminine. And I started to experiment more with skirts and, I pretty much stuck to the short skirts for a while. But that was a big difference from the big jeans. How do you get ready for a big night out? Yeah, honestly, when I do it for myself, it doesn’t take as long. If I’m getting ready, it takes me probably 45 minutes. I’m really low key. I guess I’m supposed to put more make-up on. I put a little bit extra on but, for the most part, not really. And then you know, I do the manicure/pedicure stuff the day before, usually. So that cuts down on time.

I know you told me you were a jeans and a t-shirt kind of a girl. How do you switch it up for the night? I’m into the high heels. I feel like a great pair of heels can dress up anything.

Can you think of your first big fashion disaster? First one? I feel like they happen all the time. When you find out about an event and you get really dressed up, and then you realize everyone’s in jeans and a t-shirt. That’s what happens to me all the time.

So it’s better to be more dressed down than dressed up then? I think in New York it is. I think for New York, sort of, anything goes. It’s funny, because when my family comes into town, and they’re like, “Are we gonna go to a fancy restaurant?” And I’m just like, “Even if we go to a fancy restaurant, you can just wear exactly what you’re wearing all day.” Nobody cares anymore in New York, which is kind of nice.

When you absolutely have to lose the jeans, and get really dressed up, who are your go-to designers? You know what? I have to say for a really fancy, special night out, I always go with sexy lingerie. You have to, you have to.

Who designs your sexy lingerie? I really like Kiki de Montparnasse a lot. Beautiful, beautiful stuff. I just like going into the store, because it’s awesome. But as far as dresses, let’s see. I actually wear Foley + Corinna a lot. I just wore them to the Gossip Girl premiere and it was such a hit.

What’s the attraction? Their stuff is comfortable, sexy, like cool. Another go-to designer I’ve worn is Valentino.

You can’t go wrong with Valentino. Yeah. Exactly, you just can’t.

What’s the best party you’ve ever been to? My birthday party last year that my friends threw for me was probably the best party I’ve ever been to in my life. They did an amazing job with—I’m a huge tennis fan, so they made it a tennis theme, in my apartment. And I just moved in, so I didn’t have any furniture. They put astroturf on the floor, and made a tennis net. It was crazy.

What would you say is the best accessory? I really like a beautiful necklace. And I would love to wear a beautiful statement piece like this (one of a kind Catherine Malandrino), but I never do because I feel like you have to have everything so down to a tee. The dress has to be perfect, and not too much for the bold necklace. That’s difficult.

What are some fashion trends that you’re really excited about? I love all fall everything. Fall’s my favorite season. Honestly, I’m back to the boots. Boots over jeans is gonna be my look. I don’t care if it’s in or not this time, I’m doing it. That’s it. It’s my favorite thing. I love jackets and scarves. I was really into the summer scarf thing this year.

What’s your cocktail of choice? Wait, are you old enough to partake? Haha, that’s what happens when you play a high school student. I’m 29. My go-to cocktail is Ketel One and Diet Coke. It’s called “The Skinny Bitch.” I turned other people on Gossip Girl onto it to.

What bars do you guys go out to? I love Epstein’s, which is like right down the street from here, on the corner of Allen and Stanton. It’s sort of like a diveish kind of bar. It’s cool. It has nice windows all the way around, so in the summer time you can see out.

What’s your favorite restaurant? Well I am a vegan, so that really narrows it down. I would say Hungali? It’s in Korea town. It’s on 32nd street. It’s vegan Korean food.

What’s on your iPod right now? Definitely Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, and I’m loving that song by Estelle, “American Boy.”

(The stylist starts pulling out her clothes) Do you think that you would be comfortable pulling this off on the red carpet? Yeah, absolutely. You know what, honestly, if someone else tells me that it’s right, you know what I mean? If someone else styles it for me, I’m all for it. As long as I didn’t make it all up myself. I don’t completely trust my own instincts. Not yet, I think.

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“People might not necessarily recognize Nicole on the show. She plays Isabel Coates, one half of the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern types that surround Leighton Meester’s Blair Waldorf. She is often so much part of the scenery that fans barely blinked an eye when B’s other ethnically colorful sidekick, Nan Zheng, simply disappeared from Gossip Girl. For this shoot, then, it was all about making Nicole break out from the generic oxfords, headbands, and plaids that make up her on air style.”

“In person, too, Fiscella is pretty unassuming. She exudes a zen, almost hippie vibe that isn’t belied by arrival in her casual jeans, sneakers, and ipod. Her red carpet style seems to comprise of cute, flirty cocktail dresses, minimal makeup, and natural hair. As the shoot was all about intervening, we all decided to do something more dramatic. She was pretty cool about wearing whatever, slipping in and out of about a dozen choices in the cluttered basement of the Eldridge without a word of protest. We finally settled on a complete look from the Fall 2008 Malandrino Runway collection—a floor length backless sweater dress–made of out cashmere with the consistency of a spiderweb. Over it we placed this one of a kind silver, agate and semi-precious Malandrino necklace that probably weighed about as much as Nicole. I told the hair stylist to slick her locks down to draw attention to her face, and we told the makeup artist to think bold–dramatic eyes, sharp cheekbones, full lips–without looking like a rap star.”

“When she came out, fully prepped, the room took a collective gasp. Nicole literally lit up the room. Her skin is flawless, and her body in the dress made me jealous. We placed her in the back banquette in front of the mirrors, and with that statement necklace, she refracted in a million different directions. FY to the I for the writers—this girl needs some center stage time. Careful little J, and watch your back B, this Gossip Girl has the makings of more than just a peripheral character.” – Kristian Laliberte, stylist

The Interventionist: Refreshing Fashion for New York’s Nocturnal Set

Holly GoNightly is back from her hiatus (not rehab, like the rest of yous) with a fresh new series to add to her nocturnal adventures. With a little help from Matt Levine’s The Eldridge, and a society stylist intervening in the wardrobes of some stylish ladies, she pulled off a major feat (and fete). Here begins a style study of six ever-seen girls about town.

New York Fashion Week ended in ashes what seems like years ago, and with New Yorkers returning from the far off fashion festivities in Milan and Paris, so many of us are staggering about the city looking a bit peaked. Fashion overload, along with the shows, after parties and after-after parties, has bred fashion rehab- the intervening sobriety of mending marginalized cocktail conversations, curing jet lag, eradicating new addictions (Marc Jacobs spring bags for one) and, more importantly, restoring sapped closets.

While some of you are just returning from Promises Residential Treatment Center, we decided to play doctor on the wardrobes of some of our favorite nightlife denizens. You know these girls; Annabelle Dexter-Jones with her lax down-town cool, Dabney Mercer, the apposite of UES élan, Lisa Salzer with her Spartan canvas dripping with Lulu Frost jewels, Nicole Fiscella, the prep school gossip girl, the discerning Annabel Vartanian, and the retro thrifty trio of Au Revior Simone. Not that our subjects needed much of an intervention, their polished, carefully cultivated personal style jumping from their Patrick McMullan shots. We instead wanted to invent a ‘what if ‘situation, a sartorial Trading Places of closets in which we tempted our subjects to step outside of the box (and stylist, and personal shoppers, and favorite stores) to experiment with some key fall fashion trends, the likes of which they wouldn’t normally think to wear- from Moschino to a custom-crafted J. Mendel cocktail dress.

What was supposed to be an innocent one-on-one shopping experience with six of our favorite party hoppers advanced into a full fashion affair. Wine and couture brought the girls out to the elusive members-only Eldridge for an exclusive photo shoot. With Kristian Laliberte acting as a stylist, Gradient Magazine’s Matt Fried behind the lens (and diligently trying not to reveal too much of the Eldridge’s clandestine design), we managed to convince the girls to shimmy into gainsay garments. Those that were in the upper 70’s found themselves in the deep LES. Our favorite prepsters were suddenly scenesters. The product of our intervention? Their opinions were swayed, the Eldridge outed, if only a little, and we’ve got six fashion fairy-tales to pair with our nightlife narratives over the next few weeks. Like your AA meetings, we’re wondering if their new looks will last.

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Our Subjects of Study:

1. Annabelle Dexter-Jones: Admits to ‘not brushing her hair,’ this au natural beauty is often found on carpets everywhere wearing her favorite Charlotte Ronson T (her sister is the fashion talent) and Chuck Taylors.

2. Nicole Fiscella: As Isabel, usually seen as Blair Waldorf’s back up in Gossip Girl, this elegant fashion player is no minor character. Though usually captured in school skirts and oxfords, the former model is up for trying anything, with a little push of course. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead, and she did it.

3. Dabney Mercer: The perfectly coiffed (ringlets, blond) perfectly cuffed and cosseted, the stylish younger sister of Tinsley Mortimer is always in the spotlight for her gilded image. Here she ventures into something tougher, still gilded (just on a gold floor).

4. Lisa Salzer: The talent behind Lulu Frost, and the elegant neck oft seen under the gorgeous neckwear, Lisa tells me she is into a simple silhouette for fall: ‘little blazers and jeans.’ But the girl looks so good when she glams it up.

5. Annabel Vartanian: This ginger haired beauty usually pairs elegant lines with her fiery hair, but the poised heiress was eager to break her standard.

6. Au Revoir Simone: Erika Forster (vocals/keyboard), Annie Hart (vocals/keyboard), and Heather D’Angelo (vocals/drum machine/keyboard) confided that stylists always put them in the same thrift store looks during shoots. Not much of a departure from their usual pared down panache, the three showed up in simple day dresses and sandals: left in cocktail numbers and jewels.

The Interventionists:

7. Kristian Laliberte, Stylist: Controversial? Maybe at times, but his brash honesty pairs nicely with selecting clothes for the ladies often seen on his arm. Here he roughs the girls up a bit, forcing even his most stylish of arm candies to try a new trend.

8: Matt Fried: Photographer The brains behind the beauty of Gradient Magazine, Matt came on board to capture the girls’ reactions to their tested attires

Cupcakes, Gossip Girls, & Nazi Memorabilia @ Paws Party

I walked into Pressure (the venue, not the exertion of force upon a surface by an object) last night to help Animal Care & Control’s effort to rid New York of the homeless. And no, ACC does not consider the homeless to be animals, unless they actually are. You see, this was a “Party for the Paws,” a silent auction gala function soiree type party where autographed Michael Jordan jerseys and other memorabilia were sold in aid of finding homes for our destitute doggys and kitty cats. The star of the night, other than those endless boxes of pizza and artisinal cupcakes courtesy of Bruce’s Bakery, was Nicole Fiscella, Gossip Girl‘s Guildenstern. Guests and photogs couldn’t keep their paws off her, begging and pleading for photo ops. Paper magazine’s eccentric shutterbug Caroline Torem-Craig was there, taking pictures with her very long, and very real nails, and revealing her Jamaican husband’s nickname for her. It’s Chimpess, no ‘e.’

I left the party with an ab ache (apparently icing and absinthe don’t mix) and without my wallet. This morning, the phone rang, with someone congratulating me for the autographed photo of the Soup Nazi I bid on and apparently won last night, for $250. “It’s a wonderful piece,” he said. I told him this must be an error, the result of some cruel prank. He was pissed. “What kind of person would do such an awful thing for a cause like this?” Probably someone who hangs out with Blair Waldorf way too much.