From the brownstones of the Upper East Side to the scenic streets of the Hudson Valley, actress Kelly Rutherford has always cut a fashionable figure.
The soap opera star played Lily van der Woodsen — mother of Serena, Blake Lively’s character — on The CW’s “Gossip Girl,” a drama about the lives of privileged New York City teens based on Cecily von Ziegesar’s book series. For six glamorous seasons (2007-12), it was one of the most fashion-forward TV series. Rutherford’s Lily alone sashayed through high society wearing Dior, Van Cleef & Arpels, RM by Roland Mouret, Hermès, Vera Wang and Jimmy Choo, all while living in the New York Palace Hotel.
Rutherford’s own style is not so different, which she revealed when she visited Hobbs at The Westchester in White Plains recently with her precious, pint-sized pooch, Cappuccina, in one hand, and her close friend, Caroline Legerfelt — who played CeCe Rhodes, Lily’s mother — by her side.
“I think I used a lot of my own style for the show,” Rutherford said. “A lot of it was similar, so we’d always have to pump it up a little. Like, oh wait, we have to make this a little more Lily than Kelly.”
Like Lily, Rutherford is poised and classic. Her look for The Westchester was simple — a white, sleeveless, ankle-length dress, featuring a subtle, black vertical and diagonal pattern that created an alluring shape. She wore black kitten heels that matched her chunky, black statement necklace, both of which were contrasted by a red manicure and a delicate red lip.
“She’s my stylist, always,” Legerfelt said. “She’s classy and simple, with a youthful flair. A young Grace Kelly and maybe a touch of Audrey Hepburn.”
But when she’s out of the limelight, Rutherford describes her style as far more laidback.
“I’m much more of a tomboy and casual in my everyday life, probably more so than the character, for sure,” she said. “I mean, I walk out of the house with no makeup and my hair wet, wearing jeans and a T-shirt. So when I get dressed up, there’s a similarity. But in everyday life, I’m just more casual.”
Legerfelt agreed. “Oh, honey, I’m an old hippie,” she said with a smile. Giggling, she suddenly recalled a particularly funny moment on set.
“Our designer (Eric Damon) was brilliant,” Legerfelt said. “I’ll never forget, he always kept a sense of humor about his high fashion. I remember there was a scene — an argument scene — where I was supposed to come in from jogging. So I thought he’d put me in a jogging outfit and he did. But it was hot pink cashmere. See what I’m saying?”
Setting their “Gossip Girl” days aside, Rutherford and Lagerfelt both expressed enthusiasm for new fall coats. Rutherford gravitates toward the tweeds, while Lagerfelt prefers a layered look.
“They’re getting some tweeds in,” Rutherford said about Hobbs. “I love tweed. It’s really in right now.”
With boots, Rutherford is leaning toward sky high.
“I discovered the high boots that come above the knee,” she said. “A high-heeled boot is so great, because you can still wear it at night when it’s cold. You don’t have to wear your heels and it’s still sexy. A high-heeled boot with a bold sweater, a bag and a pair of jeans and you’re set.”
For the easygoing Rutherford, it’s all about going with the fashion flow.
“There’s no real theme. It’s just all what I like,” she said. “I tend to shop that way. I don’t really think about when I’m going to wear it. I just go home and figure it out.”