He may not have dabbled in latex couture, but he invented a washable material called Ultrasuede. Finding success in 1961 when Jackie Kennedy wore what would become his iconic pillbox hat, he would enjoy even greater success by the end of the decade and into the next befriending and dressing stars Rita Hayworth and Liza Minnelli as well as introducing a shirtwaist dress (made from that Ultrasuede) a halter dress and then his perfume…then license himself as a worldwide brand. His name was Halston, and he is played deliciously by Ewan McGregor in Ryan Murphy’s new “Halston,” mini-series streaming now on Netflix.
What makes this fast-moving 5-episode bio series so much fun is how much we learn about the iconic designer as well as how every actor here chews the scenery in a way that’s endearing and never off-putting. There is McGregor, Krysta Rodriguez as Liza Minelli, and Gian Franco Rodriguez as Halston’s dangerously sexy lover, Victor Hugo (and, from this retelling, the man who first pulled the designer to Studio 54) to name just a few. These performances, as well as the clothes and sets, make for such a perfect screen adaptation of the book Simply Halston by Steven Gaines.
And those clothes?
Each episode focuses on a different collection Halston developed and the era in which he created it. Costume designer Jeriana San Juan perfectly recreated the one-of-a-kind Halston couture as much as McGregor’s signature wardrobe by creating clothes from scratch. She also used archival pieces and taught the actor nuisances of a fashion designer’s work and world.
You can read more about her work here.
Considering that this is a mini-episode run for a series that won’t see another season, binging on “Halston” will, unfortunately, bring a quicker end to your scrumptious viewing. And the end for this legendary American designer is not an especially pretty one. But the viewer can dive deep to enjoy every luscious detail that Ryan Murphy offers in “Halston,” streaming right now.