Halston is still stirring up controversy

06 May 2010

The designer with Elizabeth Taylor back in the day!

Fashion films – (there MUST be some handy phrase we can invent to describe the phenomenon –Fashopic? Frockumentary?) just keep on rolling out at us. Already this past week we’ve got excited about Vidal Sassoon: The Movie, which is forthcoming at the cinema, - and Valentino- The Last Emperor on TV.

Last week ended with another biopic of a fashion legend premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York: "Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston," a documentary about Halston’s legacy by first time director Whitney Sudler-Smith. At the event, New York fashion world’s VVVIPs were assembled, among them, SJP (President of Halston and creative consultant to Halston Heritage) our favourite catchphrase King –Andre ‘FAMINE OF BEAUTY’ Leon Talley, his favourite designer Ralph Rucci and the director of the documentary Valentino – The Last Emperor, Matt Tyrnauer, who chaired the discussion that followed the screening.

But it was in the discussion that a few feathers of the fash variety started to fly. Now, everyone knows that the man behind the fashion house, Roy Halston Frowick, was almost as notorious for his full-on 70’s decadence lifestyle as he was for his block-busting designs, but when the film came to portray his personal foibles - and his problems with drug abuse, it seemed not everyone appreciated the detail.

Several biographies have been published and his story is known as particularly rags to riches and back again, as his own private life eventually overshadowed his professional one. After being sacked from his own label, he died in 1990. Apparently Mr Rucci, took exception to the way the film — and public perception —focused on Halston's substance abuse: "It's ludicrous, insulting and unnecessary [to focus on Halston's drug addiction]. The provincialism is revolting."

Disrespectful? Or important to include the rich tapestry of the designers life?

Either way, we’ll be queuing around the corner to see this one when it comes out in the UK!

- Naomi Attwood


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