Mad Men: Made.com's co-founder reveals her nostalgic muse

As Mad Men hits our screen once again, Made.com co-founder Chloe Macintosh reflects on how the cult series inspired her business

Mad Men

A while back I came down with a bad case of pneumonia.

As luck would have it, it was a very impractical time and coincided with the fair season in Asia when I usually travel for our buying trips and samples approval. Instead, I ended up glued to a hospital bed, ..which turned out to be very inspiring.

Being French, I was more than a little shocked when I was misdiagnosed by a local GP in Old Hunstanton (Norfolk), who told me that nothing was wrong and that I should prescribe myself that English catch-all problem solver, a hot cup of tea!  

Following his advice, I didn’t think twice about going out on a windy boat trip to the Isle of Skull and sliding around in the mud at low tide on the way back. Burham Overy Staithe is an amazing place which I recommend if you have an ounce of Celtic blood – but not advisable if running a temperature of 40 degrees.

“Do all private doctors in England look like lawyers and request that you DO NOT take you clothes off?”

Verging on delirious, I drove myself back to London to visit a specialist on Sloane Street (do all private doctors in England look like lawyers and request that you DO NOT take you clothes off?) I was sent straight to the Lister Hospital for an eight day incubator/transfusion treatment.

Now, this was a pretty depressing prospect, especially in the middle of July.  

However, the story does get better. My glamorous friend Tasmia came by with a box of twelve Ladurée macaroons and the Mad Men boxset.

According to her, this was the series for me: attention to detail, sarcasm, witty repartee, pretention and fantastic fashion sense. I was flattered and intrigued. 

She left without kissing me; I already started to smell of chlorophenol.

“So I ate and watched, and I didn’t stop until early the next morning. I loved it. The talk, the walk, the slow motion, the drinking and the smoking were all heaven”

So I ate and watched, and I didn’t stop until early the next morning. I loved it. The talk, the walk, the slow motion, the drinking and the smoking were all heaven. But what really got me wasn’t the fashion, which of course I loved, but the furniture and perfectly styled sets!  

Just a year ago, I co-founded Made.com - an internet startup that makes designer furniture at a fraction of the price by cutting out the middlemen. We’re talking Conran shop quality at M&S prices.

I’ve been interested in mid-century classic design all my life and I had never watched anything on TV that stimulated my ‘papilles’ quite like Mad Men.

I started to sketch and make a mental moodboard, paused and screen grabbed stills from the series to gather what was to become the inspiration and direction for Made.com’s autumn collections.

I was stuck in bed supposedly recuperating but instead glued to watching Draper get drunk and sleep with older women (which got me wondering what my husband was doing, alone, at home…), until I managed to side-step paranoia in favour of using the series to influence and gather colour palettes and develop a range structure for our products.

Mad Men mood board for Made.com

Mid-century design has had a huge comeback and is now a top trend and anything retro is a must have.

Personally I have been collecting mid-century furniture for years, and I love this era as much for the aesthetics as for the intellectual vision and the impact it had on everyday life.

Designers of the period such as Gray, Corbussier, Eames and Prouvé had a revolutionary approach to design and for the first time proved that furniture can be functional and beautiful while affordable, giving the middle classes access to design when they had never had been catered for by this industry before.

Thank you to Mad Men for bringing this reality into an even sharper focus.

JONAH 2 seater sofa, £499 Made.com

Chloe’s inspiration brought to life, the Jonah two seater sofa, available at Made.com for £499

FONTEYN dressing table, £349 Made.com and LEONARD armchair, £249 Made.com

Mad Men inspirations, the Fonteyn dressing table, £349 from Made.com and the Leonard armchair, £249 Made.com

 

Chloe Macintosh is the creative director for online furniture retailer made.com as well as a founder of the business. Having gained a degree in architecture she worked for Foster and Partners for many years before joining Brent Hoberman and launching mydeco.com. Chloe’s passion and knowledge for design was honed at an early age when she visited antiques and flea markets across France to source pieces for her mother’s shop in the Parisian market, Les Puces.

 

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