Looking at Legends: Roy Halston

by HULA , May 27, 2021

Directed by American Crime Story‘s (think The Assassination of Gianni Versace) Dan Minahan and based on Sharr White’s written account — The Affair, of the legendary American designer Halston, the designer’s glamorous life and spectacular fall have now been immortalised by the latest fashion designer biopic on Netflix. Now, we’re not going to spoil the mini-series for those who haven’t binged the show yet. Here, we’re going to take a deep dive into the Halston style — the hallmark of the wild era of the late 60s and early 70s.



Halston launched his first ready-to-wear line, Halston Limited, in 1969 with signature simple, minimalistic and practical designs. Getting 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, wrap dresses that didn’t wrap.”, Halston had “always hated things that don’t work”.



A forward-thinker and chic minimalist, Halston’s gowns were the testimonies of his hatred for anything “that don’t work” — no frills were allowed for the women underneath should shine and command attention. Combining that with Halston’s staunch dedication to living in luxury, he crafted one of his signature silhouettes with just one piece of fabric — the flowing, comfy tie-dye caftan that imbued comfort, luxury and the high-flying Halston lifestyle to which many American women were aspiring.  



During the second-wave feminism started to take place in the States in the early 1960s — when women were campaigning equal legal and social rights, Halston’s designs of the time reflected the shifting attitude towards dresses. Riding on the social movement, Halston’s pants and jumpsuits were designed to “give women the freedom to move around they’ve never had before” — something we might take for granted today, but was monumental for what it meant for women a few decades ago. 



That’s not to say that Halston shied away from body-hugging, sexy and playful dresses. During the three short years in which Studio 54 thrived, Halston’s friends and muses (or he called them the ‘Halstonettes’), from then It-girls Liza Minnelli, Bianca Jagger to Diane von Furstenberg, shone so brightly under the blazing disco lights and in Halston’s form-fitting, luxuriously textured dresses that often featured a dramatic plunge. 



Halston Halston Halston
Halston Halston Halston