4 Feb 2011

60s Hair & Classic Cocktail Flair

It should come as no surprise that I'm a fan of Mad Men. It combines so many things that I love: vintage fashion and decor, an exploration of a different time in history, advertising, and scenes with aggressive barfing great writing. I must admit that I'm especially wowed by the styling of the show and even wrote an article about it a few years ago. Naturally, when my friend Siobhan won tickets to an event hosted by the LCBO called Classic Cocktails, an evening that would include special guest, Janie Bryant (the costume designer for Mad Men), I was beyond delighted to attend.

The invitation encouraged guests to arrive in '60s cocktail wear, so I used the event as an excuse to get my hair did (I was also long overdue for a trim. Hello, Split End City). My hair stylist, Lesley, was all too happy to do a retro-inspired 'do, especially since I brought some inspiration - How To Set and Care For Your Hair by Elaine Budd. This booklet is part of a series from The Amy Vanderbilt Success Program for Women from the 1960s. I have a ton of the Amy Vanderbilt booklet series and I'm sure you'll see more of them in the future. They are way too good to not be shared.

Check out some of the 60s hairstyles (with instruction!):

Love it! The lovely people at Mélanger were so pumped about the idea of vintage style that Lexi, the salon's cosmetic darling, did my eyes for free! So nice of her, right?

As it turns out, I really don't have much in the way of 1960s-era clothes. The closest thing I own is a late 1950s dress. In the end, my look was more 50s than 60s, but I decided to convince myself that I was an early 1960s girl figuring that some people were still wearing their clothes from a few years back. I mean, when it was New Years Eve 1990, you didn't suddenly toss out your frayed jean jacket and instantly adopt Hammer Pants, right? (And I actually hope you managed to avoid that look altogether, truth be told.)

So here I am, looking positively late 1950s early 1960s. Oh, if only every day was a dress-up day!

The most impressive thing about my hair style is the back of it - check out this shelf of hair! You could rest a book on it (provided the book was small, like, say, Why I'm Fit to be President by Sarah Palin):
Anyway, off we went to the event at the Carlu. I'm sort of surprised that the LCBO thinks they need to do a whole lot of marketing and put on PR events at all. For one, they have no competitor (bah! I loathe that this province hasn't privatized alcohol!) and two, people will always buy booze. It is the number one recession-proof industry, hands down. But, hey, free drinks for me, so I'll STFU now.

First impressions:
  • Drink tickets? And just two drink tickets each? Two? Who do they think I am, a toddler? Kind of a cheapo move, considering it's obvious the event was basically paid for by the promoted liquor brands ... /whine
  • Adored the selection of drinks, though. I'll happily lap up hard liquor from the carpet so the featured cocktails (including the Moscow Mule, the Negroni, the Tequila Sunrise, the Manhattan, and the Rusty Nail) were fun to dive into and / or look at. I personally went for a Vodka Martini with extra olives and a Negroni. Siobhan opted for a Lime Daiquiri and a Tequila Sunrise. If you love old-timey cocktails check out the free magazine in LCBO stores or Blair Frodelius's website Good Spirits News.
  • Appetizers were darling - a mix of modern and vintage eats were available. Definitely helped myself to my fair share of Monte Cristo bites, deviled eggs and shrimp puffs.
  • A group of outfits from the 1960s were featured in the room. There wasn't any signage about the clothes, so I have no idea if any of these were from the Mad Men closet or if they were just a sampling of fashion from the era. I'm guessing the latter.
  • The crowd consisted largely of girls in their twenties who spent the majority of time giving other girls the look-over and audibly snarking and / or pumping themselves up. I overheard one young pseudo-socialite tell her friend that people are often interested in meeting her because she "has been such an important part in bringing culture to the city." Riiiiight. She shall remain nameless, in large part because I can't remember her name (Newsflash: Toronto socialites are not the hot shit they think they are. Why? It's because they live in freakin' Toronto).
I had hoped that with the right opportunity and a little nerve (I loathe approaching people I don't know), I could get Janie Bryant to sign my copy of the 1969 booklet, How To Be Well Dressed, also from my amazingly fun Amy Vanderbilt Success Program For Women.

Sadly and surprisingly, Janie Bryant didn't give a little speech or mingle with the common folk (If anyone was there and she did actually speak to the crowd, please correct me. I arrived at the event at 7 PM and left at 8:35-ish - right around the time they stopped serving appetizers. It's a TOTAL COINCIDENCE THAT I LEFT THEN, OF COURSE. Heh.). She was instead booked with back-to-back interviews with "media" types who I suspect from their giddiness were mainly bloggers.

Edited to Add: Apparently she *did* do a Q&A right away at the event and we missed it. My bad - but from an event-planning standpoint, that's strange timing.

So, that was kind of disappointing to not get to really hear from her. I took a picture of her though - but from the back. I will say this: The lady has a cute bum:
My rear view of Janie Bryant of Mad Men
With Janie not expected to speak to the crowd, our drink tickets cashed in, and appetizers cruelly disappearing, we decided to get our coats. We made our leave to the Beer Bistro (where I didn't at all look like a lunatic in my dress and hair) where we could have all the drinks we wanted, we just had to pay for them. All in all, a decent night!


Karen 12:10 pm, February 05, 2011  

You look so great! Love love love the hair! Surprised about the drink ticket thing too. Hardly in the 60s spirit to limit people to 2 drinks!!

Unknown 12:55 pm, February 05, 2011  

Well, Janie Bryant did give an interview w/ an MC from the LCBO. It was very enjoyable for those of us who paid attention over the noisy background chatter.:) The clothes on the mannequins were selected from the Ian Drummond Collection and approved by Janie Bryant in advance. The women's wear was styled by Maureen Brock w/ vintage jewellery and accessories from The Bead Goes On. Ian Drummond and Maureen Brock were on hand from 6-9 p.m. mingling and chatting about the displays, and handing out business cards to those who asked.

Anonymous,  7:25 pm, February 05, 2011  

I was at #LCBOClassicCocktails too. We also missed Janie Bryant speak and that sucked. Wished they scheduled her for when the crowd was expected to be at its height.

A very pretty event, but everyone I talked to was rather appalled by the drink ticket situation. Total white people problems, I know, but surprising since it was an LCBO event. One of the bartenders told me they were supposed to close the bar at 8 and they were running out of supplies early.

The event was a great idea, but a bit of a letdown. Best part was probably people watching (your observations of the crowd are bang-on). I hate complaining when I should be grateful to have been invited (and am grateful - that's why I'm keeping this anon so that I don't get off their PR list!!!).

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Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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