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Party like the characters of Mad Men

Ring in the TV show's seventh season with a swingin' soiree

April 10, 2014 | 12:00 a.m. CST


Models’ clothing provided by Absolute Vintage and Maude Vintage. Sequin dress, Absolute Vintage, $78; sunglasses, Maude Vintage, $10; scarf, Absolute Vintage, $6; gold dress, Absolute Vintage, $68; paisley top, Absolute Vintage, $22. Photo by Andrew Schriver
Whether a lawnmower runs over someone’s foot, Roger Sterling drops acid, or Megan Draper croons “Zou Bisou Bisou,” Mad Men parties are always eventful. When the first half of Mad Men’s final season begins Sunday, you’ll find Don Draper and company living 1969 in style. With our guide to your own ’60s shindig, you can celebrate the show that’s made you feel better about occasionally wanting to throw back a whiskey at the office. No LSD required.

Historical events of 1969 and will they show up on screen?

Stonewall riots
When Bob Benson touched Pete Campbell’s knee in Season 6, many viewers believed he could be the second gay major character on Mad Men. In the real 1969, the gay community’s fight against a police raid in NYC sparked the liberation movement and urged many homosexuals to come out of the closet. Perhaps in Season 7 we’ll finally learn more about the mysterious Benson.

Moon landing
It would be kind of impossible for the Mad Men creators not to touch on this July event. The landing amassed the largest live-event television audience up to that point with an estimated
half-billion viewers worldwide.

Manson family murders
In the sixth season, Megan Draper donned the same T-shirt Sharon Tate wore for an Esquire magazine shoot two years before she was killed in 1969. Here’s hoping that Megan doesn’t meet the same doom in Season 7 that Tate suffered at the hands of the Manson Family.

Woodstock
The legendary music fest didn’t happen that far from Manhattan. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Sally Draper continued her rebellious phase and made Bethel, N.Y., the destination of runaway round two.

Draft lottery
Because Don Draper helped Sylvia Rosen’s son Mitchell dodge the Vietnam draft in Season 6, it seems likely the show will address the first draft lottery conducted since WWII.

Clothes

Take some inspiration from Peggy Olson’s fashion makeover (seriously, how terrible were those drab schoolgirl plaids from the early seasons?), and dress to impress at your happening. Maude Vintage owner Sabrina Garcia-Rubio says full-skirt dresses were all the rage in the early ’60s. The latter end of the decade is better for edgier types. Try a go-go mini dress with boots, and accessorize with clip-on earrings and a long medallion necklace. Men can achieve a late ’60s vibe with slim-lapelled suits and skinny ties, cardigans or turtlenecks.

Décor

Roger Sterling has made some questionable decisions, such as chain smoking and drinking heavily after two heart attacks. Yet there’s no question that converting his office into a beautiful, minimalistic space was a good move. Clean, open spaces like Sterling’s were common in the ’60s, says local interior designer Sherry Hockman, so de-clutter your home and give guests room to dance. Hockman recommends decorating in bold colors such as orange and green and says plastic molded chairs are a must. Add a shag rug and Siamese cat figurines, and guests will swear they’ve stepped into a time machine.

Food and Drink

Even if you’re a total Betty Draper — ahem, Francis — and constantly watch your weight, splurge on some appetizers and cocktails. Joy Grdnic-Christensen, owner of St. Louis retro restaurant The Fountain on Locust, recommends serving pigs in a blanket, deviled eggs and pineapple-Spam skewers. Wash all that food down with a Bloody Mary, bourbon highball or classic martini because no one on Mad Men ever needs an excuse to drink, and neither should you. Just practice moderation to avoid a Don Draper-style hangover.

Music

The year 1969 provides plenty of retro options including The Beatles’ Abbey Road, The Rolling Stones’ Let It Bleed and self-titled albums from Led Zeppelin and The Velvet Underground. Want some earlier ’60s sounds as well? Get your guests going with The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me,” which plays when Peggy quits her job in Season 5. When you’re ready to wind the bash down, try Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright,” the same song you hear when Don Draper comes home to an empty house in the Season 1 finale. Hopefully, guests will get the hint that you want a similarly vacant home.

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