Christina Hendricks Gives Us Mad Tips

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embedchPhoto: Courtesy of Christina Hendricks.
It’s no secret that we’re hooked on Mad Men. We’re riveted by the dialog, the vintage fashion slays us, and then there’s Joan Harris. In the pantheon of television-characters-we-love, the flame-haired ad executive — played by the breathtaking Christina Hendricks — reigns supreme. (Seriously, can you take your eyes off Hendricks?)

So, we had a little freakout when we learned that Hendricks was in town to host the #ShopFest: Kick-Off to Fall Fashion event, which opens the 12-day Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival. Running through September 2, the fest offers fashion shows, concerts, cooking demos, and more (you can check out the whole schedule here.). But first thing’s first: We had to meet our Mad Men muse. And, lucky us, we had a chance to gab with Hendricks about fall fashion, our fair city, and more.

We’re psyched to see you at tonight’s fall fashion show! What’s on your fall wardrobe wish list, and which trends are you most excited about?
"Well, I have to say that I’m craving a lot of tartan looks that I’ve been seeing in the magazines, so I’m hoping to see some of that tonight. But I just love all the fall textures in general. Fall’s sort of my favorite season for clothes. I can’t wait to see what they’re going to present this evening."

Fall fashion makes us a little nostalgic for the back-to-school days. Do you remember any standout, first-day-of-school styles from when you were a kid?
"I remember one very specifically — it’s really tragic, but I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread. I had a navy blue button-down blouse with ducks on it — like, flying mallards. I guess one could consider it very Ralph Lauren these days, but it wasn’t that chic. And I bought a mid-length jean skirt to go with it. It was a very, very tragic look that I was incredibly proud of."

Well, we’re sure you pulled it off.
"I don’t know that I did. But in Twin Falls, Idaho, it was pretty forward thinking."

In Hollywood, fall also means the Emmys — especially for the Mad Men cast! What’s your approach to choosing a dress for the red carpet?
"I work with my stylist; her name’s Lawren Sample, and we’ve been working together for years. I love her, and one thing I really love about her is that we collaborate together. She knows me so well that she really knows what I’m drawn to. We go and speak to designers we love, we go through websites, and we go through Style.com, and we look at all the collections, and I just have a lot of fun with it."

"I love fashion, which, of course, is why I’m hosting the Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival event tonight, because I’m a fan. I’m a fan of designers and I’m a fan of fashion and what it is. So, to me, finding a dress for the Emmys is about choosing something that represents who you are, being true to yourself, and just finding a pretty dress. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. It’s about picking something that you love and feel great in."

Sounds like a great approach! Do you have any go-to designers that you love in particular? "Gosh, I’m a fan of so many of them. Tonight, I’m looking forward to seeing Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hugo Boss. Some of the people that are go-to Emmy event designers are Christian Siriano and L’Wren Scott and people like that, that I’m a long-term fan of as well."

Do you ever do the “what are you wearing” call with female costars to coordinate outfits for events like the Emmys?
"I have to say — all the girls on Mad Men talk usually within the month before an event. We say, 'What color are you wearing?' or we ask which designer. We want to make sure we’re not sort of all in a red dress or all in a black dress. I may say to Jessica Paré: 'Are you wearing silver, because I’m wearing silver,' and she’ll say: 'I’m on the fence, so let me know.' So, we do actually do that, honestly."

On that note, what are you wearing tonight?
"Tonight, I am wearing these Stella McCartney peacock-colored pants that I’m in love with and an Alice and Olivia blouse that has little zebras all over. It’s adorable. And I’m wearing these amazing Jimmy Choo heels that look like racing shoes to me — I just think they’re amazing. And the jewelry I’m wearing is Dana Rebecca."

Switching gears to beauty, can you recommend any makeup products for creating a Joan Harris-style cat-eye and lip?
"Well, the funny thing about my lip color that I wear fairly consistently on Mad Men is that it’s pink! Everyone thinks I wear red for some reason, but I’ve only worn red a handful of times over seven years. Actually, what I wear is Laura Mercier, and it’s called Baby Lips. It’s a very neutral, pretty pink. That’s what I wear the most, because I feel like the character Joan can be so vamp-y that I try to not overdo it. We try to keep the makeup a little bit softer. And then, for the eyeliner, we use M.A.C. Fluidline — I don’t know the exact color but it’s more of a dark brown than black."

Speaking of Joan, we’ll be forced to say goodbye to the character after next season. If you were to imagine the rest of her story, what do you see her doing in 2013?
"Running the planet. [Laughs.] I’m sure she would be a CEO of some amazing company and probably head of the PTA for her son. She’d be multitasking as usual and hopefully succeeding."

She would be! And finally, assuming that you have some downtime, is there anything you’re dying to do while you’re here in Chicago?
"I am dying to squeeze in a little visit to Lulu’s Vintage, which I just discovered has great jewelry. I saw some pieces that wowed me, so I’m hoping to have a moment to sneak over and do some shopping."