Mad Men has caused quite a stir in pop culture and fashion since its debut. And while I’ve never seen the show myself, I’m no stranger to how influential its been. Earlier this year, the television series found its place in the fashion and interior design industries — everything from apparel to home decor shifted to the cool, American mid-century style featured on the TV series. It was only a matter of time before the Mad Men trend blew into the Windy City.
For one night, Chicagoans got a chance to return to the past and relive the fashion trends of the ‘60s, popularized by Mad Men. From the Playboy bunnies to the Kennedys, it was a night of the past and Chicago played the part.
Eleven local designers were selected to create garments inspired by the AMC award-winning series. Each garment, constructed from interior design materials, debuted on a deconstructed runway at the historic Blackstone Hotel ballroom.
Christy Collins, the Senior Interior Designer of Collins Designs & Co. and manager of hospitality projects in Chicago for over 10 years, said she looks to many outlets of inspiration, but has always followed one motto: “interiors follow fashion.” Fashion Follows Interiors “A Mad Men Event”, produced by Collins and Laura Elvis Productions, reversed this trend, making designers use interior fabrics from the Chicago Merchandise Mart to create the 60s-inspired garments.
While the drama series centers on a man, Donald Draper, and his unique sense of style, the fashion presentation centered on what designers could do for retro womenswear.
The ’60s is a decade that broke many fashion traditions, much like the social movements, in that era, that transformed social norms and broke social barriers. The runway show presented many of the trends that women flocked to during this period in fashion.
The first look featured a simple, two-tone geometric dress, paired with a rounded jacket with over-sized buttons, mirroring the elegance of the early ‘60s and the likes of Jackie O. I loved the jacket and how simple colors like black and white were used to create a textured look.
The next look featured a print leotard, accessorized with print bunny ears and a bowtie. It was a play on the more flirty, sexy style that was influenced by Playboy and their bunnies.
Another look, a full-skirted, velvet evening gown, proved to be another popular style among on-lookers. I’m a fan on velvet, especially in Autumn hues. There was something about the model and the complete look that mirrored the sultriness of the 1960s nightlife. Everything about this look was dramatic and stylish. The crowd ate it up.
The best look of the night featured a must-have ‘60s accessory made popular by Jacqueline Kennedy: the pillbox hat. The model shined in a heather gray shift dress. The construction was great, but it was the ruffle-layered removable skirt that really brought the garment to life.
Fashion Follows Interiors was truly a Mad Menevent. It was amazing how well the hair, makeup and accessories of each model were styled, and how on target each look was with the time period. I really enjoyed the deconstructed runway because fabrics look and feel different when they’re up close.
I also was amazed what each designer could do with using foreign fabrics. It’s not everyday that a designer makes pieces out of interior furnishings and decor, so the fact that many of the pieces looked so well constructed really said something about the talent of Chicago’s designers.
Christy Collins and Laura Elvis just may have made a mad man out of me.
Are you feeling the Mad Men craze?
All photos used as a courtesy of © AMPLLC 2012.