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(April 23, 1932 - March 26, 1990) U.S.A.


Fashion designer


The first international fashion superstar, Halston was a master of cut, detail, and finish. He dressed and befriended some of the world's most glamorous women. Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Babe Paley, Silvana Mangano, Lauren Bacall, Martha Graham, Bianca Jagger, and Liza Minnelli were just some of the women who wore Halston.

Roy Halston Frowick, better known as Halston, was born in Des Moines, Iowa, the second son of a Norwegian-American accountant with a passion for inventing. Roy developed an interest in sewing from his mother. As an adolescent he began creating hats and embellishing outfits for his mother and sister. Roy graduated from high school in 1950, then attended Indiana University for one semester. After the family moved to Chicago in 1952, he enrolled in a night course at the Chicago Art Institute and worked as a window dresser.

HalstonFrowick's first big break came when the Chicago Daily News ran a brief story on his fashionable hats. In 1957 he opened his first shop, the Boulevard Salon, on Michigan Avenue. It was at this point that he began to use his middle name as his professional moniker.

With the help of a lover twenty-five years his senior, celebrity hair stylist André Basil, Halston further developed his career by moving to New York later in 1957. Basil introduced Halston to milliner Lilly Daché, who offered him a job. Within a year he had been named co-designer at Daché, become the new best friend of several fashion editors and publishers, and left Daché's studio to become head milliner for department store Bergdorf Goodman.

When Jacqueline Kennedy attended her husband's inauguration as President of the United States in January of 1961, she was dressed in a jacket by Oleg Cassini and a pill-box hat by Halston. The hat was perfectly suited to Mrs. Kennedy's rather large head. Halston's unadorned and simple creation was copied by women across the world. By the late 1960s, Halston had switched to designing clothes, launching his first ready-to-wear line - Halston Limited - in 1969. Halston's approach, he explained, was to get rid of "all the extra details that didn't work - bows that didn't tie, buttons that didn't button, zippers that didn't zip, wraps that didn't wrap."

HalstonSimplicity was the trademark of Halston's creations. By the mid-1970s ethnic peasant looks were being created by all the European designers, but Halston, who hated the fussiness and non-American qualities of such designs, bucked this trend. At a 1973 fashion show at Versailles, where American designers were invited to showcase their work alongside top French designers, Halston stunned the fashion world by the awesome purity of his dresses.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Halston was known not only for his fashions, but also for his participation in New York's nightlife. He was one of the faces of the infamous New York nightclub Studio 54. One of the most famous events in the decadent history of Studio 54 was Halston's birthday party for Bianca Jagger in 1977.

In 1972, Halston met a Colombian window dresser, Victor Hugo, who was then working as a rent boy, and the two began a sixteen-year relationship. Through Hugo he met and befriended his perfect art-world counterpart, Andy Warhol.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Halston threw himself whole-heartedly into a celebrity lifestyle and was frequently featured in the gossip columns. During this period, he was seen partying with his friend Liza Minnelli at the gay holiday resort Fire Island.


In 1983, the designer signed a six-year licensing deal, worth a reported $1 billion, with the retail chain J.C. Penney; the line, Halston III, consisted of affordable clothing and accessories. The venture proved disastrous, as Halston's high-end reputation plummeted and the retail line failed. Moreover, Halston largely lost creative control over his label.

His career shattered and his health failing, Halston retired from the fashion world. In Simply Halston, Steven Gaines notes that "Halston would live the rest of his life in self-imposed exile, an Elba of his own creation. The man who was only as good as the people he dressed ended up not dressing anyone."

Halston tested positive for HIV in 1988. He died of AIDS-related lung cancer in San Francisco, California, at the age of fifty-seven.


Sources: http://lgbt-history-archive.tumblr.com/ - and alii

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