Friday, September 28, 2012

Mad Men is STYLE

Series extraordinaire

When I decided to see my first episode of Mad Men I didn't know what it was about, I just knew it had great reviews. Then the music started, and I was pulled into 1960's New York, pretty much into the same world "The Apartment" shows, but in glorious colour. The opening titles are simply mesmerizing.
The series is visually gorgeous, the fashion to die for. Every detail is perfect and truly belongs to the time it depicts, from the zippers, the costume jewellery (lots of Coro, Lisner and Avon sets), the line and cut of the clothes, and even the underwear that you are not seeing. Those women are wearing slips, 1960's bras and garter belts and girdles under their skirts! It is truly wonderful that someone has realized that obviously, a woman doesn't stand and move in the same way if she is wearing this kind of undergarments.
You can see Janie Bryant, costume designer for the series, talking about the fashion in season 4 here.

Women in a macho culture

One minute into the series and you cannot be but shocked by the monstrous sexism (and racism. antisemitism...) of the characters in the series, reminding you how different social mores were fifty years ago. My sister started seeing the series after I did, and she was nauseated by the way women were being treated. She asked me what was the point of it all, as we all know how things were then, and questioned if we actually needed to see it. I replied that, unfortunately, it was not that obvious to me that young women know how things were and, in any case, watching is not the same as knowing. It hits you.

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