Halston [Feature]

USA (MIFF 2019 )
Director: Frédéric Tcheng

“An intimate, clear-eyed portrait of 1970s A-list fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick … Tcheng’s film is more of a celebration than a lamentation, saluting a superstar designer whose life was a triumph of style and substance.” – Screen Daily

No name evokes 1970s fashion quite like Halston. Born in Des Moines, he got his big break designing Jackie Kennedy’s trademark pillbox hat. Handsome as a Hollywood star, he moved in rarefied circles, and Frédéric Tcheng’s (Dior and I, MIFF 2014) riveting documentary intelligently explores how his fluid, minimalist clothes in soft, luxurious fabrics sparked a fever among the Studio 54 set. Fashion lovers will adore the lavish archival footage and interviews with Halston’s famous friends and insiders, including Liza Minnelli.

But the film also methodically recounts Halston’s aggressive pursuit of mass-market appeal – he expanded into perfume, luggage, lingerie, homewares, even Girl Scout uniforms – and the cruelty with which corporate backers strangled his creative control. Given the infuriating lack of legacy-building after Halston’s AIDS-related death in 1990, this film heroically resurrects this complex, talented designer’s reputation with a little help from fashion blogger-turned actor Tavi Gevinson playing a fictional archivist determined to discover how the name on everyone’s hips was nearly forgotten.

“A true fashion tragedy that docmaker Frédéric Tcheng unpicks with devotion and compelling attention to detail.” – Variety

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