Don Draper, Meet Kitty D'Alessio

Cristen Conger

The "Mad Men" character Don Draper is modeled after the ad men of yore, shining up even the dullest products to seductively woo the consumer's attention. The show also focuses on the inherent sexism of the industry at the time and women's battles to have their ideas heard and recognized.

One real-life woman who accomplished just that is Kitty D'Alessio. The enterprising copywriter-turned-Chanel-president cooked up a Don Draper-worthy ad campaign for Maidenform bras that ended up running 20 years. Adweek writer Robert Klara describes D'Alessio's "I Dreamed" ad campaign and contrasts it to contemporary lingerie marketing:

"Each ad featured a woman confessing she'd dreamt of wearing her Maidenform bra while doing something manly or socially assertive-going on safari, winning an election or, in this case, shooting a little nine-ball. By comparison, even the come-hither stare of the Victoria's Secret model opposite barely warrants a PG rating."

That fantasy aspect allowed the company to publicly display women bearing their bras without provoking scandal.

In fact, another real-life Don Draper, Bob Hoffman told Adweek, "It wasn't the first time America saw a model in a bra-but it may have been the first time we saw a model in a bra in a social situation. "

Perhaps D'Alessio ended up brainstorming the brilliantly successful Maidenform campaign because it's a woman's product, much like we see "Mad Men's" Peggy get her big breaks with simliar lady merch. Either way, anyone who can make women want to play pool in nothing but a bra is downright genius.

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