BY ALEXANDRA GAUCI
Frédéric Tcheng’s documentary takes viewers on a voyage through Roy Halston Frowick’s tumultuous career as a fashion designer and poster boy for Studio 54.
After putting American couture fashion on the map in the 1973 Battle of Versaille Paris runway, Iowa-born Halston shot to fame.
His bias-cut dresses were a must-have for Hollywood's rich and famous.
His runways became renowned for their frivolity, celebrity and diversity, with the late David Bowie’s Somalian-born wife Iman debuting her modelling career in the fashion house, and frizzy-haired, size 20 Pat Ast becoming his muse.
Under the lights of Studio 54, his secretary confirms Halston developed a $1000-a-week cocaine habit clubbing with friends Bianca Jagger, Andy Warhol, Liza Minnelli and his then boyfriend Victor Hugo.
His mythic partying didn’t compromise the designer’s vulture-like business attitude and tyrannical approach to management.
The company designed uniforms for the ’76 Olympics, girl scouts and made a record breaking $1 billion deal with JC Penny, pioneering high-end collaboration with middle-class fashion.
Unlike other period documentaries and recent films about gay icons, Halston delievered on addressing the AIDS epidemic, how it led to the designer’s untimely death in 1990 and touched so many in the creative industries.
Highlights include beautiful, never-before-seen footage and exclusive interviews with ex-Halston models who remember the designer and his fashion house with affection.
Framing the documentary was fashion writer Tavi Gevinson sorting through archive footage to segment into different parts of Halston’s life. It was a confusing and pointless choice, which weakened the documentary’s flow.