Torn between, a. donning new Burberry trench and wellies (about which I’ve been boring for Britain on Twitter) for a night of (window) shopping at Vogue’s fashion evening and, b. bracing myself for episode 1, series 4 of Mad Men. Have a feeling the latter will win – that is the hazard of blogging, Twitter and possibly an unhealthy affection for the Mac. Keeps you in the warm – and more rain’s a coming. Trench and boots or no trench and boots.
In spite of the excitement a surprising number of you haven’t yet got into this series (you know who you are). And I’m still a novice, at episode 9, series 1. Try it tonight, BBC4 I urge you (if you get this tomorrow: iPlayer).
One of the reasons I’m hooked is of course for the look of it – and the make-up. It’s about proper, old fashioned make-up: foundation, powder, lipstick, eye liner. The time is the early 60s, so there’s still a hefty feel of late ’50s (coral lipstick and nail polish – Betty Draper, the blonde, series 1, episode 8). There’s black, flicked-out eyeliner. There’s red lipstick. There’s powdered skin. I don’t think they had invented the idea of ‘dewy skin’ at that time. Shine was something to be kept in check.
A shine-free nose makes quite a good metaphor for those times – pre-sexual revolution, pre-Rolling Stones, pre-public letting go. The public and the private face were kept thus – and the make-up symbolised that, to a degree. But only to a degree – witness the perfection of the Mad Men women folk at home – make-up perfect.
This is what Mad Men tells me at any rate. Also, my late grandmother (who always had face powder and red lipstick to hand) who while wonderfully relaxed and adoring of youth and newness had, most definitely, a public, shine-free face.
If you want to get up to speed on this brilliant, racy, raunchy, stylish, compelling, utterly addictive thing, read Melanie Phillips column here. Then tune in.
Mad Men, 10pm, BBC 4