With AMC’s Mad Men back on the air for its seventh and final season, we’re not sure what we’re most excited about: the show itself, or the mind-blowing fashion analysis on the pop culture and fashion blog TomandLorenzo.com. Philadelphia-based Tom Fitzgerald and Lorenzo Marquez—who have been a couple for 18 years—write traditional episode recaps and also interpret the wardrobe choices of costume designer Janie Bryant in their popular Mad Style entries. If you know mustard is Peggy’s power colour or what it means when Joan wears roses, you probably already devour their posts every Wednesday; if not, get on it! You’ll never watch Mad Men the same way again.
The dapper duo have also just released their first book: Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me: Tom and Lorenzo’s Fabulous and Opinionated Guide to Celebrity Life and Style (Perigee Trade, $13). Home in Philly after the first leg of their book tour, Tom and Lorenzo chatted with FLARE about fashion, fans and of course Mad Men.
FLARE: Your Mad Style blog is amazing. How did you come to write it?
Lorenzo: First of all let me just say how much we love Canada, and our Canadian readers! We’re so thrilled to be interviewed by a Canadian magazine. [Ed note: Swoon.]
Tom: We started Mad Style between seasons two and three. We were trying to get people excited about Mad Men, because back then, amazingly, it wasn’t one of the most talked-about shows on TV. Lorenzo said, “Hey, why don’t we do a top 10 Betty dresses post?” And I said, “Well if we do that then we have to do a top 10 Joan dresses post.” And he comes back with, “Well, we’re pretty much going to have to do a top 10 Peggy dresses post.” Over time it turned into more of a, “Let’s examine these costumes, because they’re really telling a story on their own, independent of the script.” From the very beginning, you see Peggy, Joan and Betty and how clearly Janie delineated each character by their style of dress.
Lorenzo: You could see how different these women were just by looking at them; they didn’t even have to speak.
What are some of your favourite fashion moments on the show?
L: Obviously the Betty Draper dress in Rome, that whole look was amazing.
T: A lot of early season Betty looks: when she met Don for Valentine’s Day in that gorgeous Grace Kelly dress; that gigantic 1950s pink and black dress she wore to her audition for Coca-Cola. Joan’s various rose dresses, or that beautiful blue gown from last season. Unfortunately, Peggy doesn’t have that many drop-dead moments; the only one I can think of is that little black baby-doll she wore when she was trying to tease Ted. The [metallic] dress Megan wore to dinner [in season six], the black audition dress with the white cut-out, that salmon-pink chevron coat.
Which Mad Men actor do you think has the best real-life style, and are there any you’d like to give some styling tips?
L: Kiernan Shipka is amazing. She gets it. She gets her age, she gets her style. She’s always wearing Oscar de la Renta or Valentino, and she looks amazing every time.
T: In terms of who needs help, I would say Christina Hendricks. I think sometimes she gets forced into clothes or forces herself into clothes that don’t suit her personal style, which is very vintage, girly-girl. That doesn’t translate well to the red carpet necessarily, and it’s not what people think she is; they think she’s Joan. My No. 1 bit of advice to her would be: Look at your own closet and talk to a stylist, and figure out a way to get your own personal style to the red carpet.
You’ve suggested there’s a lot to analyze in Game of Thrones in terms of wardrobe as well. Can you elaborate?
T: You can tell that there’s a certain level of thinking going into the costumes on the show, but what we do with Mad Style takes four watches of an episode, taking various types of notes; the final time, you watch the entire episode with the sound off. It’s a lot of work. Game of Thrones is worthy of that kind of analysis, but someone else is going to have to do it, it’s not going to be us!
One thing that always seems significant to me is that Daenerys wears both pants and a dress, in that blue “mother” colour.
L: I agree, I think the pants make a lot of sense. They play a lot with the warrior [idea].
T: I think the blue thing is very much a play on a Madonna-and-child type of imagery, because she’s the Mother of Dragons. It’s a very Virgin Mary kind of goddess image.
A huge part of your blog is red-carpet fashion commentary. Who’s your favourite celebrity to write about?
T: Chloë Sevigny. We treat it like a creative writing challenge every time. Chloë is very much one of those celebrities who plays a character every time she steps out onto a red carpet, which is exactly what actresses should do when it comes to their public style. Every time we write about her, we give her a new character to play. We give her a name, we give her a background. It’s always a lot of fun. She gives us so much material to work with.
Your first book, Everyone Wants to Be Me or Do Me, has just hit shelves. What do you hope readers will take from it?
T: The most important sentence in the book is found in the introduction: “Life is all about resisting the impulse to believe the world when it tries to tell you who you are.” You should never look to celebrities for advice on financial management or child rearing or nutrition or fitness, because their results in those areas are always appalling. But those are always the areas that they try and give you advice on! If you must look to celebrities, look to them for how they promote themselves; how they create a story and an image of themselves and then push that image out into the world and force the world to accept it.
Your take on celebrity reminds me of that of Lainey Gossip’s Elaine Lui.
T: Every once in a while I’ll read something of Lainey’s and I’m like, I could have written that. I think we’re soul sisters in a way when it comes to celebrities.
What has it been like to interact with your fans on your book tour?
T: That has been freaking amazing. What we do for a living is very solitary; just the two of us churning out content 14 hours a day, every day. People think it’s very glamorous; I always say, No no no! We work like drudges 50 weeks out of the year, and two weeks out of the year we get to be Carrie Bradshaw, and that’s fashion week. We had never encountered our readers as a group before, and I can’t even tell you what a gift it was: the outpouring of love, and just being able to put faces on our readers. And I remember faces! Sometimes when we’re writing, I will haul up an image of a reader I’ve met and try to write the post to him or her… We’ve been surprised by how incredibly grateful people can be when you’ve provided them some entertainment to help them get through their day. People say stuff like, Thank you, you got me through a breakup. You got me through my mother’s cancer. You got me through my cancer! You got me through my husband’s deployment. It’s awesome and humbling. You’re just banging out your little bitchy lines about hemlines and shoes, and you don’t stop to think, I’m helping someone get through their day.
Any predictions for the final season of Mad Men?
T: It’s all about whether it’s going to answer the central question of the show, which is whether or not people can change or move past their own crap. No matter what the ending is, it will become the most controversial ending ever! Everyone will be pissed and the Internet will break in half, because that’s what we all do now, when shows end. We all run to the Internet.