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Elegance from another era

Watching The Hour last night has triple confirmed for me the resurging obsession with the fashions of by-gone eras. Its everywhere; even retailers are catching onto it with TV media integrations, choosing to link with programming that has retro flair. Banana Republic started it with their Mad Men tie-in line and now NBC and Bloomingdale’s are teaming up for an integration around the 60s-era drama, The Playboy Club (via PR Newser). We’ll have to see what retailer the new show Pan Am matches up with.

Cashing in on the appeal of that era is proving powerful. The advertising work done by BR, for example, is beautiful, but it’s not really because of the clothes, it’s about the woman (when is it ever not with fashion adveritsing admittedly?).

If the model wasn’t flawless and her hair wasn’t done in an amazing french twist, then the clothes probably wouldn’t register.

That’s what I think the key is to the nostalgia for elegance of eras past – there was nothing deconstructed about those women. Ever. They were “done,” like the Drake song – “Nails done, hair done, everything did” (not to drastically revert back to the present!) It’s the sense that this coordinated elegance is lost and is what we pine for and wish to resurrect.

M & I grew up hearing stories of our great-grandmother who by all accounts had quite high standards (genetic?). My mother repeated Babunia’s little rule that lipstick color matched your nails, and it went without saying that fingers and toes always matched. This was a major faux pas in her eyes.

The demands on modern women make this kind of upkeep pretty much impossible – who has the time if you’re juggling job, home and and relationships with friends, family and significant others? – but there’s definitely something to be said for leaving an impression of composure and refined taste. I definitely do not have the composure thing down, but working on the rest.

Just a note to Mad Men fans, Season 5 started filming and is slated for a 2012 release. Kind of a long time, but it’ll fly by, and we don’t live for TV shows anyway. Or do we?

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