It’s one of the many contrasts between the show’s characters, who adapt to changing fashion trends throughout the show’s run, and Don Draper, who is much more resistant to updating his appearance (and many other changes). Trendy mustache.
Silver in color, the facial hair turns down on either side of Roger’s nose in an elegant handlebar shape that awed Internet users, who praised the style as resplendent, glorious, and their spirit animal. It was an impressive deluge of feedback for a facial-hair style, especially one that Mad Men’s makeup department head Lana Horochowski wasn’t so sure about herself.
“At first, I must say that I was not on board,” Horochowski told us about Mad Mencreator Matthew Weiner’s request for Roger to grow a mustache. “As a fan, I wanted to see Roger as Roger. And in my mind, I was thinking, ’Oh my gosh.’ The boys already don’t like to come in and sit in the makeup chair. And this was going to require extra time to get [actor John Slattery] in and clean him up at the end of the day.”
Handlebar mustache pics
Slattery could not simply grow his own mustache, because fans would see the facial hair before the episode aired. And as Mad Men fans know, Weiner does not risk leaking even the slightest spoiler about his tightly guarded AMC drama. So Horochowski had the difficult task of finding a faux stache that would both work for and look authentic on the character.
“It’s tricky with a fake mustache because they can go clownish or jokey so fast, and that was my fear with him. Even when it is growing out of your face, a mustache can be ridiculous,” Horochowski says, laughing. “With a fake one, if it’s not made really well, it can look really jokey. But it actually worked out.”
Indian beard and mustache styles
Horochowski recalls going through “a bunch” of different test styles for this particular stache—which Weiner had actually wanted Roger to grow during the show’s previous season. “We talked about it last season and tried it out, and it was just too much. And then for this season, Matt was like, ‘I think we gotta go for it with Roger. I think for the end [of the show] he has got to have it.’ So we tried a bunch of styles and we kind of just settled on this one.”
Although facial hair might seem like a small detail, Horochowski revealed that she and Weiner actually spent a while discussing it. “It was something that we had been talking about for a long time, coming into the later 60s. Who is going to get facial hair? You don't want to like wake up one day and everyone on the show has facial hair.” So they decided to slowly transition certain members of the cast into trendy styles of the era. “Last season, we made [the actor who plays Harry Crane] Rich [Sommer]’s sideburns a little longer and everybody started growing out their sideburns. And then we had Ben Feldman [who plays Michael Ginsberg] last season grow out his mustache. And of course Jay [Ferguson, who plays Stan Rizzo] with his big beard.”
Mustache growing guide
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