When I think of the olden days, I think of that episode of Designing Women in which someone said "Remember the good old days. They were old. They were good. They were days."
Seriously, certain activities seemed far more stylish back then than today. Like shopping. Going to the movies. Even going out for a cocktail or a meal. None of this tattered jeans and flip-flop business- people actually dressed up and made an effort when they went out. What happened?
I found some old images of movie theaters, restaurants, and department stores, and after seeing how glamorous these venues were, I can understand why people dressed up. You and I would if we had the chance to visit a movie theater designed by Samuel Marx. It's a far cry from our local AMC theaters with the stadium seating and surround sound. And wouldn't you want to primp, powder, puff and buff yourself before going to a shoe department decorated by architect Paul Williams?
(And I do want you to know that I try to do my part to keep up the good grooming habits of the old days. I once lived in a high-rise building where fire alarms were a common occurrence. And every time that alarm went off I always applied my lipstick and spritzed on some perfume before I made my way out of the building. Why risk my life to look good in a possible fire? I have no earthly idea, but I blame it on my mother who told me to always wear lipstick when I left the house. That's a throwback to the good old days, but it's one that I wholeheartedly adhere to-even at risk to life and limb!)
Samuel Marx designed the soigne Pump Room in the Ambassador Hotel, Chicago in 1938. The walls were cobalt blue, the banquettes white leather, and the light fixtures crystal. And if you dined at the Pump Room, you could expect this:
You'd wear a hat too if your waiter served you flaming game bird skewers with such flair!
Marx also designed the Lamar Theater in Oak Park, IL. I'd be tempted to give up my Netflix subscription and start going to the theater again if my AMC looked like this.
If the cosmetic counters at the department stores looked like Helena Rubenstein's Fifth Avenue salon c. 1948, then I would be willing to get this treatment:
Or even this one:
If only the Waffle House looked like this! (The Vienna Coffee House at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, San Francisco; designed by Dorothy Draper)
I might actually forget about the recession and buy some new shoes if shoe departments were like this one at Saks in Beverly Hills, c. 1938 (designed by Paul Williams).
Image at top: Remember when people used to dress for the theater? The last time I attended the theater, people brought in Cokes and Goobers!