Remember when advertisements promoting luxury items used to feature women and men in evening wear? Rarely do you see these kinds of ads anymore, but I guess it's no surprise considering that people now wear flip-flops to church and jeans to formal restaurants.
Two of the more elegant, not to mention discreet, ads that I've run across lately are those for Lenox china c. 1960. The ads, both seen here, featured prominent designers William Pahlmann and Yale Burge in their respective dining rooms. Each is dressed in a dinner jacket, one is smoking while the other is holding his reading glasses, and both have set lovely tables. What is even more striking, though, is that other than some small-print text, there is not a single Lenox logo anywhere. A quick glance and you might never even guess that it was an ad. Perhaps these were a precursor to the sneaky advertorials of today?
Along with the ads, I'm including photos of the Lenox patterns that each man chose. And in order to bulk up the post, I also added a few photos of Pahlmann's apartment and Yale Burge's studio. I would love to locate photos of Burge's apartment, so if you know where I should look, do let me know.
Image at top: William Pahlmann photographed in his Manhattan dining room.
Pahlmann's ad featured Lenox Tuxedo china, seen above. According to the ad's text, "William Pahlmann, world-famous interior designer, pauses for a moment in his handsome Park Avenue apartment to light tapers for a pre-theatre dinner for six." The ad went on to say that Mr. Pahlmann likes "drama in the dining room...sparkling guests, delicate candlelight, and the elegant glow of the china."
Although I could not find photos of the room featured in the ad, I did find these shots which show a guest room and an entryway in Pahlmann's home. Pahlmann often used the guest room for dinner parties.
Yale R. Burge, "internationally known designer, plans an after-theater dinner in his apartment off Sutton Place, Manhattan. The 18th c. French motif predominates in a warm and charming room. Fabric-lined walls are rich red." Interesting that Burge's ad featured an after-theater dinner while Pahlmann's ad was a pre-theatre occasion. (And notice that both spellings of theater were used in the ads.)
Lenox Tableau China was used for the Burge table setting.
Although I could not find a photo of Burge's Sutton Place apartment, I did find this photo of the Burge-Donghia showroom with a similar wall treatment.
Photos of Pahlmann's apartment and the Burge-Donghia showroom from Judith Gura's New York Interior Design, 1935-1985, Vol. 1: Inventors of Tradition.