Maddening Nostalgia

On occasion, I question if I were born in the wrong era.  I like casseroles and gimlets and circle skirts a little too much to be a 2010 girl---the 1960s seem to be more my pace.  Sleek mid-century modern furniture or Hollywood Regency designs suit me so much more than the behemoth leather sectionals of today's homes. I'll take a tidy and elegant French twist in my hair over a boho braid or bump-it any day. I am relatively certain that I own more sweater sets than any twenty-eight year old I know.  

So you might have imagined based on these retro predilections, I think AMC's Mad Men is the cat's pajamas.  Though the show's plot engages its viewers with complexly captivating family and office dynamics, I watch more for the subtle details of design.  Like an Ed Hopper painting unfolding before my eyes, I am carried away to New York in 1964, transported to a time and place I've never known.

Like the "delicious details" that I write about here so often, it's the little things about Mad Men (and in particular the Mad Women) that absorb me: What earrings is Joan wearing as she sveltely coordinates the administrative needs of Sterling Cooper Draper & Pryce advertising agency?  What does Betty's dinnerware (and resentfully-prepared dinner) look like? How does Peggy decorate her single gal apartment on a working girl's modest salary? What does Don Draper's current flame sip as an aperitif before dinner?

The fourth season of the show debuted last evening and I've already found myself wanting to ditch my entire wardrobe in favor of more sheath dresses, demure pearl necklaces and kitten heels. I want to bring out my vintage Eva Zeisel Classic Century coffee service and recline on my fainting couch. Maybe, just maybe, I'll put on a dress, some heels and a starched apron when I cook dinner (turkey tetrazzini, if I'm feeling especially retro) tonight.
The visual details of Mad Men make me nostalgic for a time I never knew, for a glamorous era that is gone.  The show allows me to become entranced by challenging characters and always unpredictable plots.  But more than just a good story, Mad Men captures my imagination with carefully-crafted sets and a flawlessly-decorated cast that lead you to believe, at least for an hour on Sunday evenings, that it's 1964 all over again. Care for a martini, anyone?

What shows transport you?  What shows offer you visual details that delight your eye and carry you away?

1 comment:

  1. One of the particular delights
    of watching Mad Men
    for Pink Frenchie devotees
    who grew up in the 60's
    is to see Peggy or Betty wearing
    the EXACT cocktail dress
    we wore in our 20's.
    My sister who sees the show
    two hours earlier in Dallas
    will call to alert me.
    The show's attention to detail
    is exquisite!
    Not only is the style of dress copied
    but also the color and fabric.
    I've heard some fans
    actually send the show
    vintage clothing.


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