Wednesday 9 November 2011

Mad Men

So I know I’m a bit slow picking up on this one but I’ve recently discovered the fantastic American drama ‘Mad Men’. I’ve fallen instantly in love with it, perhaps slightly influenced by the gorgeous early 1960s costumes. On top of the joy of looking at all the beautiful dresses (I’ve lost track of what’s happening plot wise on a number of occasions because I was too busy studying an outfit) it’s just a fantastically well written, acted and put together series. I love the way the camera suddenly focuses on one tiny little action of a character often involving an intriguing 1950s/60s prop (such as Don’s odd spring contraption for exercise in the office down to the drinks cans) or sometimes the editing highlights a fascinating detail of the setting, such as a drawer in Don’s office filled with freshly washed and pressed shirts. Everything works together to conjure up the world of the 1960s ad men of Madison Avenue and their housewives.

But let’s get to my real interest in the series and probably what you all want to see most on here (it is a sewing blog after all) - the costumes! They are absolutely amazing, beautiful to look at and beautiful in their historical accuracy. A couple of bits of underwear in particular have been distinctly contemporary – yet only when the character is undressed as clothed the ladies all have brilliantly distinct 1950s/60s shaped bosoms!

I’m only half way through the first series so admittedly I’m not sure I can really comment too extensively on the costuming yet, but I’ve already seen some great examples – my particular favourites being Betty’s full skirted dresses:

And let’s not forget about the men while we’re at it. As dull as I can sometimes find suits to be the little details really make these outfits – the ties, the tie pins, cufflinks and never to forget the always immaculately groomed hair.

The ladies hair is definitely worth a special mention: Joan never has a hair out of place in her fiery red up dos and as for Betty’s doll face and carefully curled/flicked under/flicked out bob…it’s enough to make me want to cut all my long locks which I’ve only just grown again and weld in a hair band. It’s certainly got me reaching for the hairspray and matte lipstick again anyway.

(Plus just how amazing is that tennis inspired dress?!)
Wide scoop necklines and full skirts are also my new favourite thing. I’ve always favoured the mini skirts and shift dresses of the late 1960s, but it’s never quite sat right on my more hour glass than twiggy-esque body shape. Seeing Christina Hendricks highlighting her curves in such a flattering way in these period numbers has enticed me to start exploring a bit of an early 60s look. But I do think those big full dresses as gorgeous as they are, are really not so wearable on the wet London Bus in the middle of winter. I’ve got a couple of similar patterns my Nan gave me though, so it’s definitely my aim to work up to making a completely fantastic one to wear to my friend’s wedding next July.

New York, early 60’s glamour – what’s not to love?! I highly recommend it.

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