Sunday, February 20, 2011

Mad Men Style

There is a certain madness about 'Mad Men.' As a show depicting the changing moods and social mores of mid-century America, it transports viewers in an entirely different world, one in which the loosened morals, family struggles and insecurities are sugar coated in a dazzling array of beautifully dressed men and women. Like many other book and film depictions of this era (Revolutionary Road, Stepford Wives), it is mostly about a time and place where the veneer of nice homes and neatly pressed, fashionable everyday attire, conceals any unhappiness or any trace of imperfection.
The  beautifully styled characters on Mad Men

This universe is so different from our own reality and therein lies the fascination. The perpetually crisp suits and perfectly coiffed hair--it is hard to believe that such a time really did exist. As we languish in our own economic depression, the 1950s glossy images slick as Brylcreem depicted in this show provides an irresistible escapism. The furniture always gleamed, everyone's lipstick is always applied flawlessly and no one has apparently heard of the fact that cigarettes give you lung cancer.

Some baby boomers still alive may have a different spin on it, but if movies and books are to be believed, life then was fine. According to Wikipedia, it was a time when most people were happy with their lives and thought everything was perfect. Most men had jobs, wives, kids and cars--four things they perceived was everything they needed. The economy was doing great. The world had just survived two world wars. Everyone was suddenly able to enjoy a higher standard of living. Nobody worried about war anymore, nor about how they were going to feed their children and keep a roof over their heads because the economy was just dandy.
Character Don Draper's office on Mad Men

To tell the story, 'Mad Men' is set in nicely-appointed, stylish rooms always beautifully lit (and clouded with cigarette smoke). The palette of wood and muted colors provide a backdrop for the pops of color in the characters' clothes. Most of all, the furniture used are all stunning examples of classically refined and understated mid-century modern style. The show's dazzling array of gorgeous and glamorous rooms, stylish men and women has induced somewhat of a nostalgia, enough to inspire redecoration projects and provide enough fuel to rekindle lust for a style that, unlike smoking cigarettes, never really went out of fashion.
January Jones as Betty Draper on Mad Men

Living room from a Room & Board catalog,

Living room from a scene in the movie, Revolutionary Road
It's got the legs: Chloe chair,
Left, Boxy sofa,, Middle, unknown, Right, Goetz sofa,

Top, Astoria chair, Bottom, Ventura cocktail table,
Parker chair,
Mid-century rocking chair,
Grove cabinet,

No comments: