MAD | Style in Film
Halston was his middle name, but the only one he answered to (he pronounced it Hall-ston, to the bemusement of his mother). He came out of the farm-belt, found a niche as milliner at Bergdorf Goodman - famously put Jackie Kennedy in a pillbox hat - and then set out on his own as America’s answer to Yves Saint Laurent. He was a genius with a swath of cloth and a pair of scissors, and his elegantly simple clothes were themselves a kind of Women’s Liberation, free-flowing and sexy. As much as anyone he defined Disco chic. He invented hot pants; successfully branched into perfumes, jewelry, shoes, carpets; partied with Liza and Bianca at Studio 54, signed multi-million dollar deals and in the blink of an eye he lost everything, even his name.
Director Fred Tcheng is by now the doyen of fashion films (his credits include Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel; Dior and I; and Valentino: The Last Emperor). Here he assembles a fast-moving and sympathetic portrait of a latter-day Gatsby, a self-made genius who drove himself to the edge of destruction with his focus and ambition, and kept right on going. His models and co-conspirators remember him with admiration and love, but it’s clear he lost himself along the way.