Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mad Men and Depression

I picked up a Restoration Hardware catalog today while Brenda and I were at the mall. I always like to get this catalog; I might not like everything in it but for mainstream America, they pretty much have their pulse on current trends, be it color or style.

This issue is thought-provoking, because the very first picture I look at has two very weathered-looking doored cabinets in the background. And the finish isn’t antiqued in a way that’s been popular in the past few years -- very painted and distressed; these are basically raw wood, weathered cabinets. They look like they’ve actually been left out in the rain and the elements for years and years. What I find most interesting about these cabinets is they are almost exact replicas of a cabinet that Nashville artist Arlene Gold and I produced for her kitchen two years ago, pictured at left.

Flipping through the pages of this magazine, I took note of the colors. While our country’s currently in a recession, all of the pictures are almost depression-era in tone. All the furniture is bare and weathered. like it’s been sitting out in the sand and the wind of the Dustbowl. All these pictures have this sepia-toned depression-era look. It’s almost like the magazine is taking us back to that era and re-romanticizing it, because it’s something people can connect with -- a lack of shine and glitter and bright color. Now juxtapose this with the fact that the hottest new show on television is “Mad Men,” where we’re thrown into a design and style era that was sleek lines and beautiful fabrics and big hats and mid-morning martinis. In its short three-year run, this show has already had a profound influence on fashion and home furnishings.

My point is, it will be interesting to see what washes out between these two very polar opposite styles that are being presented to mainstream America.

What’s your style? And how is it affected by the mood of the times?

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