Brooke Shields

LORELAI: I once told a store my name was Squeegy Beckinheim just to see how many catalogs they would sell my name to, and apparently my name is to catalog companies what Brooke Shields’ picture is to Chinese restaurants.

Brooke Shields (born 1965), actress and model. She began her career as a child model and gained critical acclaim at age 12 for her leading role as an underage prostitute in the film Pretty Baby (1978). She continued to model into her late teenage years and starred in several dramas in the 1980s, including The Blue Lagoon (1980), and Endless Love (1981).

She returned to acting in the 1990s and appeared in several films, as well as starring in the TV shows Suddenly Susan and Lipstick Jungle. She is currently a voice actor on animated TV show Mr Pickles, and its spinoff, Momma Named Me Sheriff.

Lorelai refers to the practice of restaurants putting up photos of their famous customers, and sometimes, famous people they wish were customers. Brooke Shields may have eaten at a lot of Chinese restaurants when she was young – she was brought up by a “bohemian” single mother, and like Lorelai and Rory, they often had Chinese food for dinner. Brooke Shields does have a regular Chinese restaurant – Mr Chow, which opened in Manhattan in 1979, and became an upscale hotspot in the 1980s. Her favourite Chinese food is chicken sticks and fried seaweed.

Cameos, Cod liver oil

EMILY: And what is wrong with that name [Society Matron’s League], Lorelai?

LORELAI: Nothing, it just sounds so serious. Brings to mind a room full of old ladies wearing black dresses and cameos and pushing spoonfuls of cod liver oil on the kids.

A cameo [pictured] refers to a piece of jewellery, usually a brooch, featuring a raised relief image, ususally of a face in classical style, against a contrasting background. They were very popular in the 19th century.

Cod liver oil is a dietary supplement made from the liver of cod fish. Like other fish oils, it contains omega-3 fatty acids, and the vitamins A and D. Historically, it was given to children because Vitamin D helps to prevent rickets.

Oddly, Lorelai does not say that she is smirking at the name of the Society Matron’s League because she knows of it from I Love Lucy, one of her favourite TV shows!

“The grunge look is out”

LORELAI: The grunge look is out.

LUKE: Hey, I’m not dressing up for this.

Grunge fashion, the clothing, accessories and hairstyles of the grunge music genre and subculture which emerged in mid-1980s Seattle, and reached wide popularity by the mid-1990s. Grunge fashion is characterised by durable and timeless thrift-store clothing, often worn in a loose, androgynous manner. Flannel shirts over shabby tee shirts, ripped jeans, and Converse sneakers or Doc Marten boots were a classic look for men. The style was popularised by music bands Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam.

Despite what Lorelai says, the grunge look has never quite gone away. I’m pretty sure Stars Hollow High wouldn’t have a problem with Luke turning up wearing jeans and a flannel shirt.

[Picture shows Kurt Cobain, from Nirvana]

Helmut Newton

PARIS: How are we going to get a professional photographer?

LOUISE: Helmut Newton is my godfather.

PARIS: Okay, sign him up – and tell him to leave the whips and chains at home.

Helmut Newton, born Helmut Neustädter (1920-2004), German-Australian fashion photographer whose black and white photographs were a mainstay of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and other magazines. His photos were erotic and stylised, often with fetishistic or sado-masochistic overtones – hence Paris’ instructions not to include whips and chains. Clearly Newton is not really appropriate as a school photographer!

It is interesting to speculate how Helmut Newton became Louise’s godfather. Presumably one or both of her parents have a connection with the fashion world. At this stage of his life, Helmut Newton lived in Monaco, but spent his winters in Los Angeles.

Pageboy Haircut

LORELAI: I know, but this goes against every rule I have in the Gilmore Survival Guide. Number one – no running with scissors. Number two – no pageboy haircuts. Number three – never ever have lunch alone with a mother.

A pageboy haircut has straight hair hanging below the ears before it turns under, usually with a fringe at the front. The name is from the haircut believed to have been given to medieval page boys, or young servant boys.

The pageboy haircut was popularised for women by New York hairdresser M. Lewis in the early 1950s, gaining peak popularity in the mid-1970s and 1980s. Two famous women with pageboy haircuts were Toni Tenille, from Captain & Tenille, and Diana, Princess of Wales – the style was often called the “Lady Di” in the UK.

The pageboy haircut was popular for young boys in the 1900s, popularised by child actors such as Jackie Coogan. It became part of adult male fashion in the 1960s, thanks to British rock bands such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, then copied by American punk, garage, and new wave bands such as The Velvet Underground, The Ramones, and Blondie.


LORELAI: When I was in school, Linda Lee was class treasurer and she could not keep her knees closed if they were magnetized. Hanes should’ve given her an endorsement deal.

Hanes is a clothing company founded in 1900 by John Wesley Hanes in Winston, North Carolina, which became known as Hanes Hosiery Mills in 1914, merging with P.H. Hanes Knitting Company (founded by John’s brother Pleasant Hanes) in 1965. In 1978, it was bought by Consolidated Foods (Sara Lee). Although Hanes sell a variety of men’s and women’s clothing, it is perhaps best known for its pantyhose.

Ralph Lauren

SOOKIE: It’s an antique stuffed and mounted trout, and I think it’s manly … It is! It’s very Ralph Lauren.

Ralph Lauren, fashion brand founded in 1967 by designer Ralph Lauren (born Ralph Lifshitz in 1939). The company has headquarters in New York City, and makes products from the mid-range to the luxury, originally selling men’s fashions. The label’s logo is a man playing polo, and their first full line of menswear was named Polo in 1968.

The Farrelly Brothers

LOUISE: We talked to people that we should never have even had to stand near.

MADELINE: The hairstyles alone proved the Farrelly brothers are not making this stuff up.

Brothers Peter Farrelly (born 1956) and Bobby Farrelly (born 1968), screenwriters and directors. Their films make frequent use of slapstick and toilet humour, often populated by blunt-spoken, profane working-class characters in small roles.

Their debut film was Dumb and Dumber (1994), in which both lead characters, played by Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, have spectacularly bad hairstyles. (Carrey later starred in the 2000 Farrelly Brothers’ film Me, Myself and Irene as well).

The Farrelly Brothers have two films in which characters accidentally use semen as hair gel, There’s Something About Mary (1998), and Say It Isn’t So (2001) – previously discussed as one of the potential “disgusting cow” films of that year. Madeline could be referring to either or both of these hair-related things in Farrelly Brothers films.

Ermenegildo Zegna

JACKSON: Oh, thanks to my best new friend Ermenegildo Zegna.

Ermenegildo Zegna (born 1955), Italian entrepreneur and CEO of the luxury fashion house Ermenegildo Zegna, founded in 1910 by Zegna’s grandfather, after whom he is named. Ermenegildo Zegna Group is the largest menswear group in the world by revenue. Although there are only a few Zegna boutiques in the USA, Jackson could have bought his suit at any number of department stores, including Saks, Bloomingdale’s, and Neiman Marcus.