vinyl | pilot

February 17, 2016 in sharp-dressed men, stop look & listen by editor


Will ‘Vinyl’ do for 1970s style what ‘Mad Men’ did for the 60s?

It’s hard to watch HBO’s new 70s drama ‘Vinyl’ and not think about ‘Mad Men’. Picking up about three years after Don Draper bought the world a Coke, the comparisons between the two mid-century dramas are inevitable. Both are set in NYC and center around a self-destructive anti-hero with alcoholic tendencies. One show is sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll; the other is sex, booze, and advertising. Both feature well-dressed office women — including clever, ambitious, ladder-climbing secretary-types — that are unflinchingly objectified by the sexist male executives. And both series showcase period-perfect sets and costumes which make fans wish that time machines existed.

Through all of its seven-season run, ‘Mad Men’ was regularly celebrated for its covetable 1960s wardrobe, which turned veteran Hollywood costume designer Janie Bryant into a celebrity with a spin-off book and collection for Banana Republic. It’s harder to imagine ‘Vinyl”s mid-70s gear having quite the same impact — not because the 70s are dead, but because they’re very much alive! Fashion’s fixation on the Me Decade has been in full effect for at least three seasons now, and if the early FW16 presentations in New York are any indication, the 70s are going nowhere. With ‘Vinyl’, maybe it’s more of a case of right show, right time.

‘Vinyl’ opens in the summer of 1973, a time which producer Mick Jagger calls ‘a sweet spot for early proto-punk, rock ’n’ roll, R&B, and disco was on the brink of being discovered.’ In this pilot episode, through a mash-up of authentic vintage and custom-made pieces, costume designer Mark Bridges created looks that capture every one of these musical species.

Bobby Cannavale stars as Richie Finestra, head honco at American Century records. Bridges looked to vintage GQ magazines from the 70s to create Richie’s look, which consists of sharp tailoring, suits and sports coats in muted and pastel shades.

A&R assistant Jamie Vine (Juno Temple) wearing a deceptively demure puff shoulder and polka dots number for work. Vintage fashion from the 30s and 40s became popular in the 70s and Jamie epitomizes the Old Hollywood look updated for the modern girl.

Early punk-rocker Kip Stevens (James Jagger) adopting Marlon Brando’s Wild One biker jacket and jeans combo that became synonymous with the New York City 70s punk scene.


Ato Essandoh as Lester Grimes, blues singer and one of Richie Finestra’s greatest discoveries. Down and out, but poised for a comeback.


That’s Robert Plant and John Bonham, if you couldn’t tell, played by Zebedee Row and Vince Nudo.

Mark Bridges created a distinct style for each of the executives at American Century. Sleazy Zak (Ray Romano) takes on the polyester disco look in leisure suits and gold chains. Scott (P.J. Byrne) is a fashion risk-taker but usually fails in his attempts at looking cool. And Skip (J.C. MacKenzie), all in plaid, dresses like a used car salesman.


A blink and you’ll miss ‘cameo’ by glitter-covered Iggy Pop.



Richie’s wife Devon (Olivia Wilde) is a former factory girl making a go of it as a suburban Connecticut mom. She never strays far from her bohemian roots, though. Here (with old friend Ingrid played by Birgitte Hjort Sørensen), Devon wears a floaty, one-shoulder dress created by Bridges. Ingrid wears authentic Holly Harp.



Richie’s assistant Cece Matthews (Susan Heyward) has, like Jamie, a 1940s vibe for the office work days.



The New York Dolls on stage at the Mercer Arts Center.


Look of the Week

Jamie wearing a most perfect red satin jumpsuit and chubby fur to check out her new favorite band, the Nasty Bits. A little bit glam and a whole lot of disco, the jumpsuit is flawlessly hemmed to just skim the floor and completely conceal her massive platform boots. Mark Bridges notes that Jamie’s nightlife ‘plays in opposition to’ her time at work, and her day v. evening wardrobe reflects this dichotomy.


get the ‘Vinyl’ look