Today’s must-reads from around the Internet.
Every Wednesday from here on out, we’re giving you a piece of our minds. Actually, more like five pieces. It’s a chance to get a deeper look into what makes the minds behind Kempt tick—you know, beyond the usual Internet handsomeness we’re serving up daily. So, welcome to our newest and most personal weekly feature: The Kempt Five.
A little show called Mad Men returns this Sunday.
And heralding this great news has been one of the most stylish ad campaigns we’ve seen in a while. (Not that we’d expect anything less.)
We’re especially digging the chalky illustrations that look like they could’ve been borrowed from the boardroom easel of Draper’s latest pitch. Which isn’t far off, considering the artwork was done by a real-deal advertising illustrator from the 1960s: Brian Sanders, who actually lived the life and lives to tell the tale. AMC recently sat down with Sanders to hear some of it and got a look at the illustrations in their various stages of production—which reveals some interesting details, like the inspiration photo collage depicting Don Draper walking past himself (in the lighter gray suit).
A handful of glamorous black-and-whites were unleashed on the Internet with yesterday’s announcement of Mad Men’s season six return—and while the majority of chatter has centered on Pete Campbell’s burgeoning muttonchops, we noticed something else worth noting: a depiction of the full spectrum of bow tie shapes in one single snap.
Now, no matter what Big Bow Tie would like to have you believe, there are really only three shapes of bow tie: the batwing, butterfly and diamond-point (or, as our friends at Forage Haberdashery like to call them: arrowheads). And the photo above has the perfect example of the subtle differences among all three. Most obvious is Roger Sterling’s diamond-point, but here’s where the nuance comes into play: Don is wearing a batwing—signified by its straight, slim blades that don’t get too much wider than the knot—while Pete is wearing a butterfly, or “thistle,” that creates a much more pronounced and rounder appearance akin to its namesake’s wings. It’s a lesson worth learning for the cravat-inclined, but as you can see, there’s really no wrong choice.
For Mad Men recaps, we’ve been turning exclusively to Mark Lisanti for guidance and support, particularly after Sunday’s episode. There’s TV, there’s HBO, and then there’s “a few extremely well-compensated hours wearing a metal bikini while Jaguar the Hutt rattles your chains and bores you with his unimaginative, conflated mytho-historical sex fantasies.”
In last night’s Mad Men episode, it seemed quite apropos that during a gratuitous afternoon of speeding through town in a Jaguar and playfully sentimental bar talk between Don and Joan (it was a fully immersive test-drive) the name “Aly Khan” was batted around. Those of you quick on the uptake might have noticed the well-placed reference to one of our 12 Original Playboys of the Jetset 60s.
As the bar scene played out, the conversation led to talk of old times, Joan’s many suitors and how Don was practically the only man in New York who hadn’t sent her flowers. He admits that he was intimidated—plus, the sheer number of flowers arriving for her daily gave him the impression she was being courted by Aly Khan, nicknamed “The Love Prince.” It was high praise—Aly was a member of an elite group of men so impossibly charming and worldly that they’d become famous for it. You can check out his resume (which included starlets and models) here.
And we’ll direct you to catch up with the rest of the Jetset playboys of the 60s, time permitting. It’ll be a three-martini read.
John Lennon recording “Tomorrow Never Knows” at Abbey Road, 1966
Donald Draper isn’t a Beatles fan, but his creator sure is. The New York Times reported yesterday that Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner didn’t blink at the $250,000 price tag that came with concluding Sunday’s episode with “Tomorrow Never Knows,” the first song written and recorded by the Beatles to be licensed for use on a television series. Why this particular track, though? As Weiner explains, “That song to me is revolutionary. [The Beatles] were constantly pushing the envelope, and I really wanted to show how far ahead of the culture they were.” And how far behind Draper had become. Roger Sterling, on the other hand, having recently returned from his jaunt with Lucy in the sky with diamonds, was likely a much bigger fan of the song.
In honor of Mad Men’s valiant return last night, Kempt is proud to present the first in a series of profiles of some of the most thought-provoking individuals working in the ad game today—real-life Drapers, if you will (minus the brown booze and nooners.)
“The consumer is not a moron; she is your wife.”
Legendary adman David Ogilvy believed the best ads are derived from relatable, personal experiences. More than anything else, he said, consumers respond to stories about themselves. (If this sounds familiar, that’s because Draper masterfully employed a similar argument here, here and here.)
Christopher Hitchens with Ian McEwan (left) and Martin Amis in Uruguay via The Guardian
We spend a good deal of time here at Kempt headquarters discussing the gentleman’s style: his clothes, his facial hair, his accoutrements, etc. In addition, though, over the past year, we’ve attempted to broaden the definition of style to include his behavior as well: his adherence to a certain chivalric code, his etiquette, the words he uses, his manner of pursuing artistic and athletic endeavors, his morality, his aspirations and, inevitably, the periodic missteps that can and squander those aspirations.
While we hesitate to dip our toe into the murky, stale bathwater of year-end reviews (and while we have even greater hesitation to hurl ourselves, willy-nilly, into the business of doling out meaningless, award-less “awards”), we’re doing so anyway.
Maybe we’re slightly more nostalgic for 2011 than we’ve been in the past.
Or, more likely, maybe we’re finding the exercise of attaching superlatives to people and things and moments to be kind of fun.
Whatever the reason, we present for your perusal—in three parts over as many days—the 2011 Kempt Awards.
Adultery isn’t what it used to be.
Consider this: in 1973, 51% of college-educated Americans believed adultery was “always wrong. As of 2010, that same number’s closer to 65%.
It’s a stark reminder that the days of Draperizing are over, and the current generation of women do not plan on putting up with your bullshit. Also, nobody seems to be honoring the International Exception these days.
See if this sounds familiar: a brilliant cultural phenomenon arrives to wild acclaim, and suddenly everyone wants a piece of it. There are trend pieces, magazine covers and for a solid eighteen months it seems like the whole media engine runs on the fumes of this one magical creation. Then everyone gets famous and, four years later, the tastemakers in question finally confess to being over it.
You can set your watch to it…or at least your calendar.
In this case, the magican creation is Mad Men and the sour turn comes from Esquire. And, naturally, they’re right. The two-inch tie isn’t what it used to be, and a thin-lapelled suit won’t raise the eyebrows it did in ’07. But we’d like to think there’s more to it than that.
You may not have tuned in last night, but if you’re following the glossies, Mad Men is just about everywhere. And not just in the editorials.
This BMW spot in Vanity Fair co-opts a bit of Sterling Cooper cachet, but it’s one of the first spots we’ve seen to embrace the show’s Kennedy-era milieu so whole-heartedly. It’s an odd fit for BMW, since Mr. Draper himself wouldn’t have much use for a German car, and the 3 series in the spot couldn’t be farther from the land-yachts that were in style at the time. And since so much of the Mad Men is about resisting the future, we’re not quite sure what to make of it. Maybe they’re pushing the manual transmission?
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