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This was a powerful story that I honestly just didn’t know. I felt like I should have known more about Halston but quickly discovered that I knew the work…not the man. I remember seeing Halston on TV when I was a kid, and while some of the ladies in my family loved him I was too young to really get it. I was riveted by the peek into the fashion world in the seventies and eighties. It is a dramatization so there are true elements, but there are also bits used to move the story along that may not have happened exactly as it unfolds.
We featured Elsa Peretti in a blog recently, as she passed away this year. Elsa was one of Halston’s closest confidantes and they merged their creative forces several times. Halston, in fact, helped Elsa create her relationship with Tiffany & Co. that would be the focus of her career. Most of the jewelry that was featured in Halston’s fashion was designed by Elsa. Her jewelry vision is what led to the iconic Halston perfume bottle that he had to fight with the company unwaveringly to use. It was not as machinable because the shape of the lid was not the typical style.
While Halston and Peretti eventually fell out, as strong-minded creatives sometimes do; their careers were inexorably linked. Fashion clothing design and jewelry design are so hand-in-hand, and their brilliance was realized so firmly when they were paired. Elsa is featured prominently in the five-part miniseries, along with some of her amazing creations.
The series has received mixed reviews and that is understandable. I thought that the portrayals of the fashion icons were very well done. Ewan McGregor WAS Halston, there was very little need for suspension of disbelief. Rebecca Dayan brought the spirit of Elsa Peretti back to life, she was fabulous. Krysta Rodriguez took on the daunting task of playing a still-living star. I don’t think that I can imagine a better take on Liza (with a Z).
The effect that the real Halson, Peretti, and even Liza had on the fashion of the time is undeniable. The eye for beauty that manifests in unexpected ways is such a gift. The focus of the biopic is obviously Halston and he was amazing in his own way and his influence can still be felt in fashion and accessories. His relationship with Peretti though, is what created the jewelry, the all-important pieces that launched her career that spanned five decades. After watching this, we are ready for a biopic about Elsa Peretti!
Seeing some of the “it” locations and people of the time was very cool. Getting some insight into Studio 54 was pretty amazing, for all the beauty and grit that came with it. They all knew how to look fabulous while their lives were spiraling out of control. While it is hard to watch them torture themselves, it seems to have been true to the time.
The five-episode series touches lightly on Roy Halston Frowick’s midwestern childhood. The bulk of the action kicks off when Jacqueline Kennedy wore his pillbox hat to John F Kennedy’s presidential inauguration in 1961; launching his career. It’s hard to imagine a good way to dilute Halston’s illustrious career into five episodes, but I think we leave with a much better idea of who he was. The series was inspired by the novel Simply Halston by Steven Gaines.
Halston, we thank you for your gift. We thank you for the doors that you opened for others. We thank you for your influence. May you be at peace, your legacy is intact.
Netflix’s Halston can be an intense show and has some very adult scenes, I do not suggest watching it with sensitive people or children.
Written by Kayti Kawachi