Using archival footage of and interviews about fashion designer and icon Halston (1932-1990), Whitney Smith looks at the 1970s in Manhattan. Smith is interested in the parties and the excess, which contrast with Halston's minimalist lines. There is a rough chronology for Halston: from milliner to couture to an unsuccessful attempt to bring his designs to the customers of J.C. Penney. The principal focus is on the world of Studio 54 and Halston's part in it.Written by
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A documentary about Halston could be so great! Sigh. Unfortunately, this film seems to be poorly spliced together with interviews (if you could call them interviews) of some of the people who knew Halston in the fashion world, and others who were notably closest to him like Liza Minelli. The Good: Some great vintage photographs of Halston and models dressed in his clothes mostly during the late 70s disco scene. Some video clips of Halston in the early 1980s. Also the recollections of model Pat Cleveland were quite interesting and somewhat moving.
The Bad: There were "interviews" with the filmmaker's mother, music stars Billy Joel, Nile Rodgers and a few others that should have been edited. Liza Minelli's naive (untruthful?) recollections of Studio 54 and Halston's free-time seem frankly incredible. The Dupont twins obviously have some great knowledge about Halston and Studio 54, but the moderator rushed the conversation and miniscule information was gleaned. The rest of these interviews, with some greatly notable people, were all too brief and all over the place. A quick standup interview (who didn't even take the time to sit down) with Ming Vauze scratched the surface of a torrid tormented relationship of Halston with Victor Hugo, and the end of Halstons life in San Francisco while he suffered from AIDS.
The Ugly: Liza Minelli. Even the great Halston wasn't able to make her look attractive in any fashion, or daylight! Thus he was frequently seen with her out under the flashing colored disco lights of night. Andy Warhol. Hideous friend of Halston was shown in numerous photographs, but we'll not know after watching this documentary how close the two were, how well they got along and what their common interests were.
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