Mad Men is at an end. It’s delicate. But it’s potent. What will you
miss most about the world of Don Draper and co? The elegance and
decadence? The exquisitely paced storytelling? The clothes?
Mad Men is perhaps the most perfect TV show there has ever been. In every detail. The lives of the characters are absolutely imperfect. But every aspect of the programme’s creation and presentation is absolutely perfect.
The costumes in Mad Men exemplify this perfection. Every single item of clothing chosen to appear on the show serves multiple functions. Each garment must be spot on for the period, spot on for the character’s social status (or the status they wish to project) and it must tell us a huge amount about the true character of the character wearing it. The clothes tell us so much about each character in Mad Men.
So it was a delight to me that Mad Men costume designer Janie Bryant shared with me her favourite costumes from the current final run of episodes via Twitter this week. It seems that she has a soft spot for “Red” (as Roger used to call her). Here’s what Janie had to say:
Will you miss Mad Men as much as me? How do you think we will leave the Mad Men world? I remember reading years back that the show’s creator intended for the story to conclude in 2011. Don Draper would be 84 (although the contingency that he should make it to his ninth decade would seem a remote one). But of course, Mad Men has always been the story of the women.
I always thought Mad Men was really Peggy’s story, as she’s our way in to this world, following her on her first day at Sterling Cooper at the very start of episode one. I read in a recent interview with Mad men creator Matthew Weiner, though, that it’s really Sally Draper’s story:
Philip Galanes [NY Times interviewer]: Lately, I’ve read a spate of articles saying that “Mad Men” is really all about Sally.
Matthew Weiner: From the beginning, I said, This show is seen through the eyes of a child – because I was a child. You’re looking behind your parents’ bedroom door. And now, Sally’s adulthood has hit them in the face. They’re looking at someone they saw as a kid and remembering the things they saw through her eyes. Confusing things and pieced-together things. They’re starting to feel insight and not just experience.
So, will the elderly 2011 Don Draper be looked after by a 60-ish Sally (who we can only hope will not have bloomed into the Birdie-in-waiting her 1970 incarnation would seem to be)? Or might the story end with Peggy Olson’s final day at work before retirement?
The answer’s just around the corner.
But for now – to paraphrase Mr Sterling: Get me something brown to drink.
- Catch up on Mad Men seasons 1 to 6 and season 7 (part one).
- Ready Ogilvy on Advertising and Confessions of an Advertising Man for insights on some of the real-life inspiration for Mad Men.
- Image at the top – depicting one of Janie Bryant’s favourite costumes from this run of episodes – from an image tweeted by @MadMen_AMC. I do not in any way claim any copyright for this image, and will be more than happy to remove it immediately if required.