Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston
No one represented the glamour, style and excess of the 70's quite like legendary designer Halston and, in this new documentary, Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston filmmaker Whitney Sudler-Smith takes us on a fabulous fun-and-fact filled journey through his life and times. Halston was America's first celebrity designer. In the 60's he took society by storm as a hat maker to the stars and was propelled to the forefront when he created the inimitable pillbox hat that Jacqueline Kennedy wore to her husband's inauguration. When he launched his own line of clothing, his circle of clients and close friends included the most talked-about women in the world; Elizabeth Taylor, Liza Minnelli, Betty Ford, Babe Paley, Bianca Jagger, and Lauren Bacall. Halston's look, sleek by day, slinky by night, matched the mood of the disco era perfectly. He invented, in the words of Vogue's Andre Leon Talley, a "casual chic". At the height of his fame in the 1970s, he truly was the emperor, not only of fashion, but of Style, putting his name, and his distinctive aesthetic, on everything from sunglasses to shoes, gloves, and a phenomenally successful line of fragrances. There was also his one-of-a-kind signature fabric, Ultrasuede. Halston was also emperor of another world, namely New York City nightlife, and the fabled Studio 54 was where he held court. He surrounded himself with the likes of Andy Warhol, Truman Capote and Liza Minelli. Every night was a party, full of dancing, drinking, and drugging. At his pinnacle, Halston sold his business and his name for a large sum of money but this couldn't protect him from the loss of control, both professionally and personally. With the rise of the more abstemious Regan-era, Halston's many excesses and extravagances were suddenly out of fashion. Unable to use the very name he had turned into a global brand, he dropped out of sight. His death from AIDS, a few years later, was final evidence of the end of an era. But Halston's glorious clothes, still worn on the red carpet today, and his concept of designer as brand name, prove that he was a true visionary. ULTRASUEDE combines archival footage and an array of interviews with various witnesses and survivors of Halston's empire his best friend, Liza Minnelli; two of his leading models, Anjelica Huston and Pat Cleveland; fellow designers Dianne von Furstenberg, Stephen Burrows, Naeem Khan, and Ralph Rucci; musicians Billy Joel and Nile Rogers (both of whom used 'Halston' as a lyric in hit songs); journalists Bob Colacello and Glenn O'Brien (of Andy Warhol's Interview), Jim Moore of GQ, Cathy Horyn of the New York Times, Amy Fine Collins of Vanity Fair, and Andre Leon Talley of Vogue, among others.
Director Whitney Smith