Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mad for Mad Men

Two nights ago I saw Season One, episodes 1 -3 of AMC's Mad Men. Yes, I know, I'm late to the game. I just don't get cable and am experiencing it all via Netflix. What did we do without Netflix?

The next day I couldn't wait to get to the AMC site to find out more about the clothes. However, there was nothing. How can there be nothing? There has been a huge run by designers to history's well for today's clothing collections. The blogging community is all about vintage and vintage-inspired clothing, which is obvious if you just check Flickr. And AMC, one of the keepers of our vintage celluloid history does not have an extensive section on the clothing displayed on their hot new show? I was shocked.

They do have a Fashion File column written by Faran Krentcil, founder of But I think what Faran knows best is modern fashion. I was surprised that no one with knowledge (and more importantly, love) of the vintage fashions portrayed was covering the subject for AMC. Wouldn't you just love to have someone like Erin of A Dress A Day have something to say on the subject after each episode? I know I would. Or someone from the show's own clothing department? Their last blog post was by Janie Bryant,
Mad Men's costume designer and I hope they ask her back.

I want someone who cares to discuss the reasons some characters wear what they wear, because in a show like this, the clothes can be our shortcut to understanding what the character is all about. Also, I wonder if the writers request a specific outfit because of the way it would read to us viewers, ex. would it make us think a particular thing about the character? I want to know things like that. Do you?

In an August 27 column, Faran told a story about how they found a bullet-cup brassiere at a thrift store, cut it apart, and replicated it to make bras for Christina Hendrick's Joan character. Of course, how could she not "be" the character when wearing one of those? Also her outfits are found many sizes too larger and cut down to fit her like a glove, basically each of her outfits are couture-fitted. Again, how can she not feel like a queen in that office? I think a blog covering the fashions on that show should have either more of that type of stuff and commentary on what makes up the wardrobe of the separate women characters; who represent so many different types of women, no matter how stereotypically alike the majority of them (middle-class white women, 20s to late 30s) seem at first glance. Or perhaps, a blog that strictly shows you how to replicate those outfits using modern fashion. However, right now AMC's Fashion File seems to be all over the place, with no focus. Which is unlike the show, where Mad Men is all about focus; knowing what your end goal is (success or marriage) and using your smarts and imagination to create whatever is needed to achieve that goal.

Whew.....that was a lot of exposition, wasn't it?

So though I'm late to the game, for my own enjoyment, and hopefully yours too, what I'm going to do is post my observations episode by episode as I view the show. Note: I can't guarantee this will go swiftly, as I still have to depend on availability of episodes on Netflix and I have Christina Ricci's Penelope up next in my queue!


Anne (in Reno) said...

I adored the costuming in Penelope, I hope you like it as much as I do. Pretty much the whole movie was adorable, actually. Except the whole name-that-British-actor-doing-an-American-accent factor. But that part very well may just be me. I may need to check out more Mad Men for the costuming as well, it seems...

drwende said...

I'm just right now reading about how phone company execs were promising back in 1993 that interactive TV would tell us exactly the information you want, just a click from the actual text of the shows.

Someone needs to find the advertiser who benefits from this info being available... fabric stores? If there are any left?