Skirts get shorter, ties wider on ‘Mad Men’
From the moment “Mad Men” debuted, the stylized AMC drama about the men and women who work in Madison Avenue advertising in the 1960s has been a tastemaker favorite.
A steady parade of Betty, Peggy and Joan look-alikes have appeared on the catwalks as designers interpreted their favorite looks from the early ’60s. But time has marched on in season five, mimicking the fast evolution of fashion during that decade.
Viewers likely can expect skirts to be a little shorter and eyelashes to be thicker when the season premieres Sunday. Psychedelic colors and patterns could be coming into fashion, too.
The nipped-waist, full-skirt, almost petticoated silhouette that introduced the female characters in season one, set in 1960, would look out of touch with what was happening in the world just a few years later. After Jackie Kennedy started stepping out in more body-conscious sheath dresses and looser shifts, everyone did. And the collective eye was adjusting to the minis introduced in London by designer Mary Quant that were making their way across the Atlantic when the show left off last season in 1965.
For men, change likely won’t be as obvious, but by the mid-’60s not every shirt had to be white and not all haircuts were buzzed above the ears. Thank the Beatles and their mop-top haircuts for that.
“The world was changing incredibly fast then,” said Scott F. Stoddart, dean of liberal arts at Manhattan’s Fashion Institute of Technology. “It starts in the ’60s, and the ’70s were just as packed — it was a trajectory. Things slowed down a little in the ‘80s, which were actually more conservative, more like the ’50s when the whole decade looked the same.”
Culturally, beatniks were becoming mods, rock ’n’ roll was taking hold, and the move from stockings to pantyhose — and eventual bra-burning — all influenced mid-’60s fashion. It probably all will mean a lot to upwardly mobile Peggy Olson, who started off wearing matronly clothes when she was Don Draper’s secretary but is a feminist at heart, said Mr. Stoddart, who wrote “Analyzing Mad Men: Critical Essays on the Television Series.”
He’s most interested in the fashion evolution of Draper’s daughter, Sally, who will be in middle school in suburbia, which eventually becomes a
on a personal level,” Mr. Sachs, who recently moved to Nevada from Sarasota, Fla., told the Associated Press in an email. “It feels like vindication for my father, a final recognition of the life he lost and never got back.”
The case ended up with the Karlsruhe court because of the posters’ unique and tumultuous journey through more than 70 years of German history. The posters were collected by Sachs, stolen from him by the Nazis’ Gestapo, became the possession of communist East Germany for decades, and then moved to the Berlin museum after Germany’s reunification in 1990.
The court acknowledged that Mr. Sachs did not file for restitution of the posters by the official deadline for such claims, and that the postwar restitution regulations instituted by the Western Allies could not specifically be applied in his case. But the judges ruled the spirit of the laws was clearly on Mr. Sachs’ side.
Not to return the posters “would perpetuate Nazi injustice,” the judges wrote. “This cannot be reconciled with the purpose of the Allied restitution provisions, which were to protect the rights of the victims.”
Hagen Philipp Wolf, a spokesman for Germany’s cultural affairs office, which oversees the public German Historical Museum, said the decision would be respected.
“The Federal Court of Justice has decided; we have a clear ruling, the German Historical Museum must return the Sachs posters,” he said.
A total of 4,259 posters have been identified so far as having belonged to Mr. Sachs’ father. They were among a collection of 12,500 that his father owned, which include advertisements for exhibitions, cabarets, movies and consumer products, as well as political propaganda — all rare, with only small original print runs. It is not clear what happened to the remainder.
The German Historical Museum rarely had more than a handful of the posters on display at any given time, though it had said the collection was an invaluable resource for researchers.
Mr. Sachs’ attorney in Germany, Matthias Druba, said his client now hopes he can find a new home for the collection where they can be displayed to a wider public.
“Hans Sachs wanted to show the poster art to the public, so the objective now is to find a depository for the posters in museums where they can really be seen and not hidden away,” Mr. Druba told the AP.
The posters were seized from Sachs’ home in 1938 on the orders of Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, who wanted them for a museum of his own.
Born in 1881, Sachs was a dentist who began collecting posters while in high school. By 1905, he was Germany’s leading private poster collector and later launched the art publication “Das Plakat (The Poster).”
After the seizure of the posters in the summer, Sachs was arrested during the Nov. 9, 1938, pogrom against the Jews known as Kristallnacht and thrown in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp north of Berlin.
When he was released about two weeks later, the family fled to the United States.
After the war, Sachs assumed the collection had been destroyed and accepted compensation of about 225,000 German marks (then worth about $50,000) from West Germany in 1961.
He learned five years later, however, that part of the collection had survived the war and been turned over to an East Berlin museum. He wrote the communist authorities about seeing the posters or even bringing an exhibit to the West to no avail. He died in 1974 without seeing them again.
The posters became part of the German Historical Museum’s collection in 1990 after the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall.
A poster by P.H. Mar, circa 1932, is part of a collection of thousands of rare posters believed to be worth between $6 million to $21 million.