Since we won’t be seeing Mad Men until next year, I thought I’d share with you my random thoughts about some of my favorite MM styles and props. Ah, what I wouldn’t give to be a walk-on– just to wear some bitchin’60’s fashion and pass through those fantastic 60’s sets!
First, a Costume. Peggy wore a stunning black dress with neutral stripes in two episodes, briefly in The Chrysanthemum and the Sword and in the season finale Tomorrowland when she and Ken landed the Topaz account. The thing that struck me about the dress was not so much that it is black, but the symbolism of the stripes themselves. They weren’t just neutrals, but the way the beiges were displayed was much like a pantyhose sample card! You can just see one hanging above a display case–‘Pale, Nude, Taupe, and Cinnamon’. Am I right? How appropriate for Peggy to wear this particular dress to entice Topaz Pantyhose with! And yes, Topaz was a real hosiery company. This was no accident–Janie Bryant is a genius!
In The “I had that!” Category
In the episode Waldorf Stories, There are two enamel snack bowls on the conference table. One is white with a green leaf design and the other is white with orange leaves. I gasped at the sight of these! When I was growing up, we had a very similar bowl—it loomed large in the McKenzie Family legend! It was larger, and plastic, except it was orange with white leaves, like the above. This was our Saturday night popcorn bowl! With my curiosity peaked, I investigated deeper and found that these bowls were the (now iconic) Catherine Holmes ‘Lotus’ bowls. They came in several color combinations, in either enamel or heavy duty plastic. Although our plastic orange bowl eventually met its “hole-y” fate when it got too close the stovetop burner, the sight of these retro bowls gave me the warm fuzzies! You can see the Lotus bowls at 1:06 in this video:
The Pink Powder Room
In Season 1 The Marriage of Figaro, Don needs to wash up after working on Sally’s playhouse. With his tight tee shirt and fevered brow, Don looks astonishingly masculine as he uses the only bathroom available; Betty’s uber-feminine pink powder room. The contrast is a laughable juxtaposition of testosterone meeting estrogen. It’s a façade of the feminine archetype, French Provincial at its gaudiest that blooms with inviting accents. There’s a dainty porcelain hand with pink guest soap, A swan and 18th century fashion plates on the wall, fleur–de–lis on the curtain, and even a flouncy Marie Antoinette toilet paper cozy. Don is trapped here, he just wants a normal towel, and exercises his only option; wiping his hands on his shirt. When Betty scoffs ‘I hope you didn’t use the powder room!’, Don assures her “It will appear untouched!” The bathroom is symbolically like Betty herself, pompous and pretty to look at, but just don’t touch.
Pink bathrooms were die rigueur from the 40s to the 60s. and Betty’s pink French Provincial powder room, is right in style with the period. (A million kudos to the set and prop masters at MM!)
For more vintage pink bathrooms, check this out.
Oh, one more question. Why does the waiter on my pizza box look like Don Draper?