Now that Don Draper finally nailed the ultimate account and Mad Men has disappeared into 1970 forever, I’ve been binge watching the whole thing all over again on Netflix. There were so many fantastic moments of graphic design, fashion design, even hair design (and some not-so-good ones, those ’70s staches and sideburns were not doing the characters any favors). But most of all, I loved to watch Mad Men for the spot-on 1960s set design.
There are too many to count; with all that Eames, Saarinen and other mid-century icons lurking everywhere. Here are some of the highlights:
What does this guy need an office for? No actual business ever happened here, except for a fake phone call to Lee Gardner over at Lucky Strike weeks after Roger had lost the account.
1) The best moment to me was when Jane Sterling hired a decorator to redecorate Roger’s office, the spot where he dictated that not-so-bestselling Sterling’s Gold. A tulip table, a CJ Corona chair, op art and more iconic items in a black and white palette. I mean, check out that phone!
“A modern Chinoiserie breakfront, a Dunbar Japanese-influenced sofa, silk Dupioni drapes, Murano vases, and a classic Drexel end table.” — Betty Draper’s decorator
2) Betty redecorates the living room. Betty hires a decorator that gives her sharp Hollywood Regency style for her living room. Don walks in and moves a lamp around to make it perfect. Then Betty buys a very symbolic fainting couch that messes the whole look up. It’s so appropriate because the poor woman is trapped in an era that squeezes her like a Victorian corset.
3) Betty goes to get analyzed. Has there ever been a sadder woman on a Barcelona daybed? And did analysts really call husbands to give them the rundown after the wife’s appointment? That was crazy. Anyway, this image is fun to compare and contrast with the fainting couch one above it.
4) Don flies to sunny L.A. and winds up hanging out with a bunch of European tax evaders in “The Jet Set” episode. According to Curbed, this house is The Fox House, an abode Sinatra rented for 10 years. If that’s not a ringing endorsement that it’s classic California modern, I don’t know what is. The set designers and art director captured that clean white, glass and that unique California cool.
Bert Cooper’s Japanese-inspired office. No shoes allowed in here. The arrival of new art was always exciting and gave us insight into Bert’s character and tastes. A new Rothko had everyone in the office a tizzy, a Pollack was behind his head during the moon landing, but the best was the sex octopus:
But the best sex octopus moment was this vision of Peggy Olson, completely transformed, strolling into McCann-Erickson unrecognizable from the young secretary we’d met a decade earlier.
What was your favorite Mad Men design moment? Please share it with us!