Relive the roller-coaster career of the designer whose innovative clothes not only gave women new freedom, but who fabulously heightened both the role of fashion in American culture and of American fashion on the world stage.
"Genuine, intelligent appreciation of Halston's brilliance as a designer."—Variety
"His clothes danced with you," says Liza—and if you need to ask who Liza is, this may not be the doc for you. Born in Des Moines in 1932, Roy Halston Frowick blazed three trails: His innovations in cut and design gave clothes a new, irresistibly freeing liquidity; a 1973 Versailles show (using primarily runway models of color) put American couture on the map; and he brought fashionistas pop-culture visibility at a movie-star level. From his start as a milliner for Bergdorf Goodman (he gave Jackie her first pillbox), he social-climbed indefatigably—fueled, director Frederic Tcheng implies, by the determination to overcome homophobia by making himself un-excludable. But Halston's career was to trace a steep bell curve, beginning its descent as he was driven to overextend himself by designing everything from perfume to luggage, Girl Scout uniforms to costumes for Martha Graham's dance troupe. A high-profile partnership with stolidly declasse JCPenney was too much for the fashion haut-monde, and a $1K-a-week coke habit and nights at Studio 54 didn't help; but the final blow, as for so many at the time, was AIDS, and the designer retreated to the care of his family before his 1990 death. In recapturing this fabulously kitschy era, Tcheng slyly demonstrates that everything has dated except Halston's clothes themselves, as fresh and body-flattering as the day he imagined them.
Halston is French-born filmmaker Frederic Tcheng's third documentary about the world of fashion, following portraits of Diana Vreeland and Christian Dior; his current project, in development, is about David Bowie. He received an MFA in directing from Columbia University.
Sponsored by Pacific Place
- Director: Frederic Tcheng
- Principal Cast: Tavi Gevinson, Liza Minnelli, Marisa Berenson, Joel Schumacher, Pat Cleveland
- Country: USA
- Year: 2019
- Running Time: 105 minutes
- Producer: Roland Ballester, Frederic Tcheng, Stephanie Levy, Paul Dallas
- Screenplay: Frederic Tcheng
- Cinematographers: Chris W. Johnson
- Editors: Elia Gasull Balada, Frederic Tcheng
- Music: Stanley Clarke
- Website: Official Film Website
- Filmography: Dior and I (2014); Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel (2011)
- Language: English
- Format: DCP
- US Distributor: 1091 Media
- International Sales: Dogwoof