Friday, December 11, 2009

Amy Wells: Set Decorator For Mad Men

Reprint of Amy Wells: Set Decorator For Mad Men at Home Accents Today:

Judging by the Emmy nominations, Americans are fascinated by the hit TV show Mad Men. In case you've been living in a cave the past few years, Mad Men is more than the early 60s on Madison Avenue. It's about the roles of men and women just 40-plus years ago. It's about double standards, smoking, and glass ceilings before we even invented the words.

Sherwin Williams' magazine Stir has an interview with Mad Men set decorator Amy Wells, who also has worked on Last of the Mohicans, There Will Be Blood and Sex and the City. The challenge has been to make the sets and the clothing as real as possible. Wells not only talks about how she uses color to achieve the feeling of the period, but what colors are associated with the lead characters.

The article is a good example, too, of how a writer needs to know his characters. For example Wells started with,
Who are Don and Betty Draper? What kind of taste do they have? Do they have enough money to buy the things they want?
From there she painted the walls oatmeal yellow in the Draper bedroom.
Then I added a vibrant blue period headboard for contrast. There are no primary colors; we’re not in that era yet. When I think of Don, I think of graphics and the color of his office — deeper blues, black. With Betty, I think of pastels.
Does Mad Men interest people because many of us lived through that era or is it because we find the writing and characters interesting? Both probably and it's fun to see how much things have changed since those years.

Bev & Mike
Landfair Furniture + Design gallery
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