Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mad Men - ultimate cool

I have just finished watching the third season of Mad Men, and yes I am behind everyone on the web but I don't get much telly watching time OK??! Wow is this ever a good looking production, the people, the fashion, the sets - OMG the sets! I was very chuffed to see the brass valet in the Draper master bedroom - I found one at the op shop a few years ago and have been arguing with hubs ever since on it's value - i love it. And now since we've seen it on Mad Men, I've won the argument of course ;)

The super stylish cast of Mad Men (amc)

The sets were created by set decorator Amy Wells along with production designer Dan Bishop, and they did an amazing job. The fact that you spend equal time admiring the surroundings these characters are in as the characters themselves really make the sets another star of the show. Check out this video.

This article mentions the interesting ways they worked with incorporating colour into the sets by using corresponding characters and what colours complement them as their brief. E.g the tan & black wallpaper in the Draper kitchen was used to contrast with Betty Draper's 'blondeness' (January Jones). While Don Draper's (Jon Hamm) complexion looks better against blues.

The Draper Family Kitchen (Photo by Carin Baer, courtesy amc)

Don Draper Office (courtesy amc)

Draper residence hallway (Photo by Carin Baer, courtesy amc)

How cool is the tile picture in the hallway? By far my fave scene regarding the interiors is in Season 3 Episode 7, when Betty hires a decorator to re-do the living room (awesome chairs btw) only for her to add an antique chaise longue to the mix - love the decorator's reaction!

New Draper Living room (amc)

New Draper Living Room (amc)

As well as the production values, being set in the 60s, it is an amazing insight into this much talked about era of "The American Dream". It's been fascinating watching Betty Draper struggle with her so-called idyllic homelife and the gender roles that we so take for granted now, were startlingly different, and this is but 2 generations ago. I have had my own struggles with homelife recently and the constant push and pull between wanting my family to be fulfilling in and of itself, and yet have the yearning for more without feeling guilty or selfish. Sounds silly on the page but I wonder how many of us have the same struggle? And why are we ingrained with this idea that the doting partner and children should be the fulfillment of our lives? I know the feminist movement strove to change all this and maybe it isn't said out loud anymore but there seems to be an underlying expectation that once we do all this, women should be happy.

Then you have the supermum brigade - you CAN have it all, fulfilling career, happy children and the home you had always dreamed of - too bad you won't have your sanity to enjoy it all. Interesting that there were women struggling with this issue 50 years ago, and seeing it portrayed on Mad Men. How long ago was this seed planted?

Please excuse the rant, the show touched a chord I guess. And the treatment of children! You hear the old adages, 'children should be seen and not heard' and 'spare the rod, spoil the child', hell I was even around for the use of the second one... but it's such another thing to see it played out on screen. A place where we are spoon fed happy families and where our general philosophy of respect for all people, especially those who cannot defend themselves, is widely accepted. To then see a show, albeit a period piece, show how things used to be, was a real slap in the face (literally) when I saw it. Really shows how far we have come as a society, and in some ways how far we still have to go.

I highly recommend this series, for the sumptuous design, restrained performances, a glimpse into one version of our recent history and the amazing fashion! ...and for a philandering bastard, Don Draper is one sexy man!

1 comment:

  1. I'm not very good on the design front, but the costumes and 60s lifestyle dragged me in. For a time not so long ago, things have definitely changed!