Halston premiered on 14th May 2021 on Netflix. Directed by Daniel Minahan and created by Sharr White, the 5-episode long series is based on the life of designer Halston, based on the book Simply Halston by Steven Gaines starring Ewan McGregor in the lead role.
Halston- A Brand!
When Jackie Kennedy wore one of the pillbox hats during her husband’s inauguration in 1961, Roy Halston Frowick (Ewan McGregor), set the fashion world on fire. Bergdorf Goodman, which sold his hats, was unable to keep up with demand and the market went crazy. But it was not soon after that women more or less stopped wearing hats leaving the designer in a pit. It is here that Halston decided to step foot into apparel and more, giving himself more exposure and range.
As the series continues we see Halston’s uprising and downfall both in terms of his profession and personal life. The series builds in a beautiful way on everything the designer experiences and one of the most important parts of the same is his childhood. Halston’s childhood is revisited twice in the show, and in both instances, he is ruined by an emotional outburst of yelps and tears. However, given that his childhood and relation with his parents were formed in slow-motion sun-drenched montages that indicate but never inspire passion, both scenes play out with a cosmetic melancholy.
This reflects the show’s overall emotional void, which is grounded entirely in McGregor’s physicality — his expression, his hairline, and his posture, which steadily bends with age and AIDS. Physicality is vital because for Halston, clothes and character are more like armour, shielding him from the indiscretions he doesn’t want the world to see.
As soon as you enter its world, the series manages to keep you engaged as there is a lot of detail and development for every character here. The series has an appalling elegance to it, with bales of fabrics unrolling as if sculpted from the air; a texture that makes you want to stretch out and hold the fabric between your fingertips, rub the silk, cut yourself on the sequin, and flail around in satin.
The friendship the protagonist shares with Liza and Joe is beautiful as well, it is in these relationships that he finds his sanity and anchor and undeniably, it is heartwarming. On the other hand, Halston’s relationship with his boyfriend Victor was something I really appreciated from the very beginning but sadly, the end left me in despair. The series is rich in emotions, aesthetic, reality, and beauty leaving very little space for complaints and criticisms.
Moreover, his minimalist design extends to his surroundings: his monochrome home with no splashes of colour, his black-on-black outfits, with the exception of a cream suit, which he wears to a workplace of red carpets and red furnishings, with walls of mirror, mirror, mirror, and often a cigarette fading to ash, hanging from his fingertips. It’s so orderly, detailed, and tidy, and it’s the polar opposite of the chaos that’s engulfing his existence. A callousness that has turned reckless, a stoicism that has grown acidic, and an irony that has become irreverent.
Summing up, Halston is one of those series that should be on your watchlist. There is so much in terms of details and emotions that the series offers, it undeniably makes you want to know more about everyone involved with Halston and about the designer himself. The series is surely a praiseworthy piece of its own kind.
Stream It or Skip It
“Maybe I’m an outsider too, my whole life. Getting sideways glances from white guys in Brooks Brothers suits for what I was and who I liked or who I was and what I liked. Till one day I just stopped giving a flying fuck.” – Halston
STREAM IT! From reckless parties, sex, drugs to emotions, growth, and downfall Halston has everything one might want from a miniseries based on an admired designer. Also, Ewan McGregor as Halston is as charming as it gets just like the designer himself.
Halston is streaming now on Netflix.
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