Fashionably Mad

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To the discriminating eye it would appear that Mr. Urbane himself, Don Draper, is handling the marketing for “Mad Men.” Judging from the handsome new box set dedicated to the show’s second season, some very savvy brand man really knows what he’s doing. (For the uninitiated, women were mere secretaries and convenient sleep-overs in those days). Ratings already indicate that skinny-tie-wearing, hair-slicking urban dudes and the women who love them have come to regard the show as a weekly primer on gentlemanly style so ‘chances are‘ (the show has yet to use that Johnny Mathis classic) the fashionably forward will probably be compelled to add the four-DVD collection (cleverly packaged to look like a shirt box) to their curated bookshelves.

The discs themselves and their DVD menus employ artful detail shots — a cigarette in hand, a man grasping a lowball — to set the mood for the actual episodes. Obligatory special features abound. Some, like the spot on hot rodding or the history lesson on Sardi’s restaurant, are flimsier than others.

The two-part “Birth of the Independent Woman” feature is relatively rigorous and reminded me how much the masculine mystique of “Mad Men” is equal parts Brylcreem and sexism. To fashion-literate watchers, the bonus vignette “An Era of Style” will be the most tempting and most disappointing. There’s some smart testimony from the fashion historian Valerie Steele, but the musings of Rachel Zoe, the stylist and reality TV personality, have been roundly criticized. What’s truly alarming, there’s some suggestion that Season 3 (premiering on Aug. 16) may take place in the mid-’60s, which would mean Nehru jackets and sideburns for Draper and crew. Mad Men wannabes take note.

To set the mood for the upcoming Mad season, a Mad Men classic currently playing on EA Flix: From Episode 13 of Season Two:

Acker Bilk – “Stranger On the Shore”

 

 

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~ by eaesthete on 07/17/09.

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