‘Halston’ – Movie Review

Category: Movies

If you were alive in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, you definitely know the name Halston. Halston is a documentary about the iconic fashion designer who created an empire.

Roy Halston Frowick was born in Iowa in 1932. He became the legendary Halston, dropping his first and last name. His mother still called him “Hal-ston” but he changed the pronunciation to “Hawl-ston.” He was responsible for Jacqueline Kennedy’s pillbox hats and in the 1970s for hot pants. He dressed Liza and other celebrities. And he became a celebrity in his own right.

Halston began as a milliner in Bergdorf Goodman’s in NYC. He branched out to create his own line of fashion that reflected the times. His designs were bias cut, free flowing, easy to wear, simple, and beautiful. From dressing women he branched out to perfume. I don’t know anyone at the time that didn’t own a Halston perfume bottle. I did. The bottle in itself was art, and the fragrance was heavenly. These days designers lend their name to fragrances all the time, but Halston was the first. Then he added other areas to his empire and eventually he brought his haute couture to the everyday American woman via JC Penney. That infuriated many of his supporters, especially the folks at Bergdorf because it meant anyone could now own a Halston outfit. But the designer wanted to “dress America,” so he had to go where the average American shopped.

There are some interesting facts brought out in this film. We all know about Jackie Kennedy’s inaugural pillbox hat, but did you know the perfectly round dent in the top was not supposed to be there? She dented it while holding on so it wouldn’t fall off in the wind. Soon that look was what everyone was after.

And the iconic hot pants were a creation by Halston. This designer was responsible for the model Iman, and many others. His influence on our culture is still viable.

Viewers will learn about this iconic man who, in many ways, changed the shape of the fashion world. They will also learn about his quirks. He was a hands-on designer and orchestrated everything having to do with his name. But in the end he could not orchestrate his empire, even though it was his name. He was locked out of his business and went to live in San Francisco where he died of AIDS in 1990. His name is still on items in many areas, but his special touch is long gone.

His genius made him a legend, and his name will live on. I never owned a Halston original, but I sure wanted one…or two…or three…

This is a fascinating look at the man who influenced our wardrobes, scents, lifestyles, and the history of American fashion. Halston opens in select theaters May 24, 2019.

About the Reviewer

Francine Brokaw writes about books, products, travel, and entertainment. She has been published in national and international newspapers and magazines as well as Internet websites. She has written her own book, Beyond the Red Carpet The World of Entertainment Journalists, from Sourced Media Books, is the entertainment correspondent for Good Day Orange County, and has her own TV show, Beyond the Red Carpet, on Village Television in Orange County.

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