Thursday, March 15, 2007

Halston ... America's Best Kept Secret

For a fashion fan who grew up post Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor and Lauren Bacall, Roy Halston Frowick or simply known as Halston could be as foreign as the alien on Mars.

Did you know that the pillbox hat made famous by America's iconic First Lady Miss Jackie O was designed and crafted by Halston? Hmm, I guess that should be something new to most of us who have been grew up admiring the designs of Kenzo, Issey Miyake, John Galliano and (R.I.P) Gianni Versace.

Nothing much is known about Halston but all I can say is that he was in the same league as the late Oleg Cassini and Emilio Pucci. He was born in Des Moines, Iowa and went to Bosse High School, in Evansville, Indiana and graduated from School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His road to fame began when he worked as a milliner before moving to designing womenswear. After his pillbox hat creation won the attention of fashionistas worldwide, more and more celebrities began to embrace his stylish designs.

Anjelica Huston, Babe Paley and Bianca Jagger were among the famous names who favored his designs in the 1950's up to the 70's. Though he was a favorite among international jetsetters who would pay with their both upper and lower limbs just to be dressed in one of his creations, Halston had himself under a heavy drug influence. By 1984 he was fired from his own company and lost his right to design and sell his creations under his own name. Later, he died of AIDS in 1990.

17 years forward, the house of Halston is given a new life. With stylist to the stars Rachel Zoe as the brand's creative consultant along with Jimmy Choo's CEO Tamara Mellon on the list of board of directors, Halston is set to captivate the imagination and attention of the younger and up-to-date set of crowd with edgier and sexier designs. Though the revival had begun since last year, only a limited designs were made available and have been worn by celebrities like Sandra Oh (Grey's Anatomy) and Marcia Cross (Desperate Housewives).

This season, the collection focuses on the short hemlines, wrapping techniques and sequined embellishments detailing. Simple and elegant, Halston's creations are no longer made for the aging jetsetters, but also for the young and rich (think of the Traina twins and Ivanka Trump) who wants to revell in the name that was once touted as "the first international fashion superstar." My personal pick from this collection is definitely the Racer tank halter dress with deep V neck in midnight blue and the swinging 60's-inspired knee-length hem sequined dress in racy red.

If you are interested in getting a piece of Halston's latest creation, you can buy them from either Bergdorf Goodman in New York or Paul and Joe in Paris. Recently, another store has been added to the list and it's the famous Jeffrey in New York.

*Photos courtesy of Halston

Halston - Bergdorf Goodman, 754 Fifth Avenue, 4th Floor, New York NY10019; Jeffrey, 449 West 14th Street, New York NY10014; Paul and Joe, 2, Avenue Montaigne, 75009 Paris.

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