Netflix’s new series, Halston, chronicles the extraordinary life of the legendary American fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick.
Liza Minnelli singing Bonjour Paris! in the Palace of Versailles, Jackie O’s pink pillbox hat at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, Bianca Jagger riding aloft a snow-white stallion on the dancefloor of Studio 54. Iconic images recognised the world over, which, amongst other things, are proof that those three women had serious style. You might not, however, be familiar with the fashion icon that threads them all together: Halston.
Lauded as one of the greatest American designers of all time, Roy Halston Frowick rose from anonymity as a young gay man growing up in rural Iowa, to the head of a worldwide fashion empire responsible for dressing some of the most famous faces of the 70s and 80s. In his heyday, he was known just as much for his elegant, streamlined designs which revolutionised womenswear as he was for his diverse entourage of “Halstonettes” who followed him wherever he went, including the dancefloor of Studio 54, the see-and-be-seen nightclub frequented by the likes of Andy Warhol, Diana Ross and his longtime confidante, Liza Minnelli.
Halston’s rise to international stardom came with an equally dramatic fall from grace, largely due to a series of fateful business deals which saw him sign away the rights to his name and company. After spiralling into patterns of self-destructive behaviour, Halston was fired from his own label and faded into obscurity. In 1990, at the age of 57, he tragically passed away from AIDS-related complications.
Now, the fashion maestro is now returning to the spotlight. On April 23, in celebration of what would have been the designer’s 89th birthday, Netflix released photos and a global premiere date for its latest original series Halston, which promises to be our new TV obsession. Here’s everything you need to know about the show, including the synopsis, cast, trailer and much more.
What is the story behind Halston?
Directed by Daniel Minahan and executive produced by Ryan Murphy, the creator behind the likes of Pose, The Politician and Ratched, the upcoming biographical miniseries charts Halston’s journey from the invention of his fashion brand, to the heights of fame and excess in 70s and 80s New York.
According to the official synopsis, the show will also depict the “hostile takeover” which left Halston battling for “control of his most precious asset….the name Halston itself”, referencing the disastrous business deals that caused him to lose control of his brand.
Who are the cast of Halston?
Leading the Halston cast is Ewan McGregor, who will be playing the title role and has spoken about how he “instantly” wanted to play the legendary designer after seeing photographs of Halston and his inner circle.
That inner circle is also faithfully depicted in the series, including Krystal Rodriguez as Halston’s close friend Liza Minnelli, Rebecca Dayan as the influential Italian jewellery designer Elsa Peretti, Gian Franco Rodriguez as artist, window dresser and Halston’s longtime on-off partner Victor Hugo, Bill Pullman as corporate giant David Mahoney, David Pittu as fashion illustrator Joe Eula and Rory Culkin as future filmmaker Joel Schumacher.
Is there a trailer for Halston?
There is, and it’s a visually sumptuous spectacle. Soundtracked by Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence, we see Halston pacing in his Manhattan penthouse, partying at the iconic nightclub Studio 54, and letting rip at his corporate colleagues.
“I’ve been an outsider my whole life until one day I just stopped giving a flying f**k,” McGregor’s Halston declares. We think you’ll agree, it’s quite the transformation.
As a taster of the glitz and glamour that’s still to come, Netflix has also released a number of Warhol-inspired polaroids featuring the cast members. These include a polaroid of McGregor and Krystal Rodriguez cuddled up as Halston and Minnelli, and a group photo of McGregor, Dayan, Gian Franco Rodriguez, and Pittu hanging out as Halston, Peretti, Hugo and Joe Eula in Studio 54.
When is the release date for Halston?
Halston comes to Netflix on 14 May 2021.
Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.