Fashionistas, rejoice, there are new TV shows about fashion to binge-watch! And the Netflix series and Amazon Prime documentary about the American fashion designer Halston will take you to the glamorous world of the fashion legend in the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Ewan McGregor plays the Iowa-born, Indiana-raised Roy Halston Frowick in the 5-episode Netflix series “Halston”. The miniseries recounts the rise and fall of the designer who changed and defined American fashion. Additionally, the documentary on Amazon Prime shows archive interviews with Halston’s friends and collaborators. Among them, Liza Minnelli, Andy Warhol, and Jacqueline Kennedy, who famously wore a Halston pillbox hat to President J.F. Kennedy’s Inauguration in 1961.
Halston, the younger years
While studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the young Halston did window dressing. Additionally, he made hats, which he sold at a beauty salon. He went on to open his own hat shop in 1953. Five years later, he moved to New York and then became a milliner at Bergdorf Goodman. His work at the fashion retailer took him to fashion shows in Paris, Milan, and London. Besides learning about fashion, Halston meets the jet-set crowd we see in the Netflix series and Amazon Prime documentary. A year after Jackie Kennedy wore the iconic pillbox hat, Halston received the first of his several American Fashion Awards.
From milliner to fashion designer legend
In 1966, Halston started designing clothes that he sold at his hat boutique inside Bergdorf Goodman. That same year, he met Liza Minnelli, who became a close friend and client. Finally, in 1968, the now famous and very well connected Halston opened his namesake boutique. He decorated the chic building with opulent tented ceilings and walls covered in red fabric. And he hired none other than Pat Ast, the star of Andy Warhol’s movies, to work in his boutique. The plus-size model became Halston’s muse. She was part of the Halstonettes, with fellow models Anjelica Huston, Elsa Peretti, Pat Cleveland and others.
Among Halston’s clients were stars and the best-dressed New Yorkers and socialites like Babe Paley, Greta Garbo, and Gloria Swanson. And also Kim Novak, Marlene Dietrich, Lauren Bacall, and Bianca Jagger. You will see on Netflix and Amazon Prime that Halston was quite a wild party animal. In fact, the designer was a regular at New York’s iconic nightclub Studio 54, with his famous friends Truman Capote and Andy Warhol, among others. Inspired by the ’70s nightlife, Halston created his legendary halter dresses, a must for any true disco diva.
Halston defined American fashion
Certainly, Halston revolutionized both couture and ready-to-wear fashion. While European designers were creating fancy clothes, Halston made minimalist and timeless garments with uncluttered silhouettes and crease-resistant materials. The secret of his success lay in the superb unconstructed cut and draping that made his clothes hang perfectly on women of all sizes. In fact, watching the Netflix series, we can see the fluid shapes of Halston dresses were very sexy. They both revealed and concealed women’s bodies in the right places. Additionally, he was famous for revolutionizing unisex clothing, creating coats, jackets, and argyle sweaters that suited all. He was also a pioneer in materials, using ultra suede in his famous shirt dresses.
I think, probably, it’s that I cleaned up American fashion at a particular point in time—I was actually called Mr. Clean. It was just getting rid of all the extra details that didn’t work—bows that didn’t tie, buttons that didn’t button, zippers that didn’t zip, wrap dresses that didn’t wrap. I’ve always hated things that don’t work.Halston
The Battle of Versailles
Halston was among the five designers who represented American fashion in the historic Battle of Versailles against five French couturiers. The costume designer of the Netflix series, Jeriana San Juan, scoured the internet in search of vintage pieces and created replicas to emulated the silhouettes Halston presented at the French fashion event.
Making couture accessible
In 1973, the designer sold his company to a conglomerate; this merger would license Halston’s name in various products and lines. Then, in the ‘80s, Halston signed a deal with the popular retailer JC Penney to make a lower-priced line. However, this move was not well received by luxury stores like Bergdorf Goodman that dropped Halston’s high-end line.
Halston would later try to buy back his business until the end of his life, but with no success. Sadly, the American fashion designer passed away at 57 of AIDS-related cancer. On that occasion, the former fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, Polly Allen Mellen, said, “He was the first fashion star. Nobody has replaced Halston”.
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So, get your popcorn ready, make yourself comfortable, and enjoy Halston on Netflix and Amazon Prime. By the way, Netflix has collaborated with the luxury brand to launch a 10-piece capsule collection inspired by the series. Halston’s CEO, Robert Rodriguez, selected 10 key gowns from the TV show and recreated them in more contemporary looks that will appeal to the fans of the iconic American designer. The capsule collection will be available at Saks and Neiman Marcus, and you can pre-order from the 7th of June, 2021.
But first, watch our video with the best red carpet gowns for some extra fashion inspiration.
All photos courtesy of Netflix.