EMILY: Richard Gilmore, you are going to give these girls the wrong impression.
RORY: What impression is that, Grandma?
LORELAI: That you were the Helena Bonham Carter of the society set?
Helena Bonham Carter (born 1966), English actress. She rose to fame in 1985 film A Room With a View, and became a favourite choice for playing a virginal “English rose” in period dramas – something she was uncomfortable with. Bonham Carter gained worldwide recognition in the 2000s, and has had many major roles, including awards for biographical film and TV The King’s Speech, Enid, and The Crown.
Lorelai is referring to the fact that in 1994, Helena Bonham Carter began an affair with fellow actor Kenneth Branagh while they were filming Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, even though Branagh was married to actress Emma Thompson at the time (they married in 1989).
Branagh and Thompson divorced in 1995, and Bonham Carter and Branagh broke up in 1999. They have all made peace with one another now, and the three of them had major roles in the Harry Potter film series. Helena Bonham Carter married director Tim Burton in 2001, the year before this episode aired. They divorced in 2014.
Amy Sherman-Palladino seems to have modelled her image very heavily on Helena Bonham Carter, who is known for her eccentric fashion and dark aesthetic, and for playing quirky female roles. I’d imagine she would be one of Sherman-Palladino’s favourite actresses, as well as her style icon.