We’re excited and heartbroken, as we anticipate the kick-off of the second half of Mad Men’s seventh—and last—season. While we prepare to say goodbye to one of our favorite guilty pleasures, we look back at how the show has transformed a studio set and cast into an authentic portrayal of mid-century life, and inspired a new generation of design-lovers to fall in love with mid-mod style.
How do they do it? Mad Men’s portrayal of the milieu of 1960s advertising players—on Madison Avenue and in their Manhattan apartments or suburban homes—extends beyond office drama and vodka martinis. The show transports us back to a pivotal era with honest moments that have shaped American culture—from the 1960 presidential election in season one to Apollo 11’s landmark 1969 moon-landing in part-one finale of season seven.
But even more subtly, the show’s design team, led by production designer Dan Bishop, creates interiors worthy of the set’s recognition as a silent character. Don and Megan Draper’s New York City apartment, the Sterling-Cooper & Partners’ office lounge, and dozens of other interiors are emblematic of the youth culture and market for modern goods that saw a rise in post-war America. The era was marked by a renouncement of the 1950s suburban dream; a desire for simplification, open-layouts, and sleek structural elements; and an appreciation of geometric shapes and bold use of color….