Le Duc went off for the weekend to visit his parental nest, so I rented Season One of the series Mad Men and gorged- delicious!
Like the Todd Haynes film "Far From Heaven", the production is steeped in an era I recall vividly: circle pins, white gloves, baby-dolls, and every man at work in a dark suit.
January Jones' Betty Draper, the protagonist's wife, is a debutante/Grace Kelly beauty, softened angles of blonde perfection. Tapered wool pants, cabled cardigan, peignoirs, everything just so.
Cristina Hendricks plays bad wise girl Joanie with glee, all shake-it till-you-break-it bottom and red beehive, skin-tight sweaters, sprayed-on skirts. Hendricks said in an interview, "I don't think the 1960s were the most flattering time for women, but if you know how to work it, then it can be."
Every episode's a style time-capsule, with actresses in bullet bras, shirtwaists, twin sets and the kind of girdle that made you wait to go to the bathroom, because tugging it on and off was sweat-popping work.
Watch and notice, with very rare exceptions, how physically confined women were by their clothes. I read that the actresses had to be coached in how to move, as they had grown up without the foundation garments that changed how they sat, walked, even breathed.
The suburban homemakers in the show spend major time in rollers and pin curls. You were either on display or in preparation. The undercurrent of anxiety is palpable: being pleasing enough, thin enough, and "what do you want for dinner, dear?"
Mad Men depicts a time when racism, sexism, anti-semitism and homophobia were features of everyday life (at least inside this fictitious Madison Avenue ad agency). Forty-eight years ago, what a difference- not only in what was said, but in how people reacted. If you wonder where all the people went who talked this way, it's clear from the show: they died from smoking.
Michael Kors apparently loves Mad Men and is creating looks that channel early-60s ladies.