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Milking It: Barbara Tfank Channels Women of Mad Men

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Yesterday afternoon costume and fashion designer Barbara Tfank showed her small, exquisitely crafted collection in a cavernous eighth floor space overlooking the Hudson River at Milk Studios. The presentation featured models performing over-the-top, cliché poses evoking a photoshoot for a toothpaste campaign art directed by a creative teammate at Sterling Cooper circa 1962 ("Make love to the camera!"). And it worked—the clothes were a perfect counterpart to the cheese—elegant, classic, candy-colored gems with classic silhouettes, crinoline-puffed skirts, capes and cinched waists. Betty Draper could wear all of it; but so could any slightly older, sophisticated Barneys shopper—the line is carried exclusively at the department store.

The collection was very American, very garden party, and prim but not precious—colors ran the gamut from simple creams, rich navys offset by primary red, sherbert tones and acidic lime green. Abstracted floral prints in lime and purple on crepe silk added a touch a modernity while overly graphic, modernized damask patterns —some shrunken and others blown to massive proportion—were retro but not dated. Shift dresses blasted with print and color called Lilly Pulitzer to mind; and pieces were rife with detailing including grosgrain trims, ruffles, and contrast linings. A charming collection from an under-exposed designer, who could really get some commissions from the costumers at Mad Men.