August 22 2014

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22 posts tagged "Halston"

When Andy Met Halston: Looking at a Visionary Friendship



Photo: Andy Warhol, Halston, 1974; Andy Warhol, Fashion: Halston, 1979

With his movie-star good looks and all-American charisma, it’s no wonder that Halston would have appealed to the perennially celebrity-obsessed Andy Warhol. But what might easily have been a fleeting fixation would grow from their first meeting in the 1960s into an enduring friendship that lasted until Warhol’s death in 1987. This bond—and its far-reaching creative ripples—is the subject of the upcoming Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede, a multimedia exhibit opening this weekend at Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum.


Photo: Halston, Evening dress with print based on Warhol’s Flowers painting 1964–72, Silk knit

Consider the 1972 Coty Awards, the duo’s first formal—and most riotous—collaboration, where the great designer tasked Warhol with producing his catwalk finale. Starring the “Halstonettes,” the extravaganza boasted a motley crew of ladies both up- and downtown, including zaftig model and Halston muse Pat Ast, who popped out of a cake (wheeled in by Halston), and Factory vedette Baby Jane Holzer, who tap-danced for the assembled crowd at Lincoln Center. Socialite Lily Auchincloss did her part cooking up bacon on the catwalk. Despite the duo’s occasionally humorless milieus of fashion and art, a shared irreverence made for a fruitful partnership. “There’s a democratic, Pop sensibility running through both of their work,” says Nicholas Chambers, a Warhol Museum curator. “It’s this kind of response to the world, but on the other hand, there’s this absolute embrace of glamour.” The latter is evidenced by better-known mergings of the two men’s visionary talents, like Halston’s Fall 1974 gown in an acid-hued print of Warhol’s famed Flowers.

The pair were bound together by a common entrepreneurial spirit, as much the product of their Depression-era childhoods as an element of otherness; both were gay men from less-than-cosmopolitan cities (Halston from Des Moines, Warhol from Pittsburgh), who hit the ground running on their arrivals in Manhattan. “They were both workaholics,” says Lesley Frowick, Halston’s niece, who had a major hand in the exhibit’s curation. “They had to work hard and make it on their own. Halston always had a pen and a pad of paper to sketch and take notes. Warhol always had Interview magazines with him that he would hand out. He was always circulating—they both did that to keep on top of the pulse of pop culture. Halston used to say, ‘Oh, yeah, Andy. He would go to the opening of a drawer.’”


Photo: Andy Warhol, Lesley Frowick, 1985

The designer featured Warhol’s works almost exclusively on the walls of his lavish East 63rd Street Paul Rudolph town house, where Frowick lived for a year while attending photography school. Encounters with her uncle’s friend Andy were commonplace. “Halston encouraged a lot of his friends to have their portraits done by Warhol, and he thought, Well, let me have Warhol do my family’s portraits, too. I went to the Factory and he did the portrait. It might sound spoiled, but that was just the way life was. Yet in hindsight, I wish I had paid more attention and taken notes and been able to take more photos myself and kind of record it all,” says Frowick. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of ephemera. Halston was an immaculate archivist and Warhol something of a pack rat, leaving behind more than 610 time capsules of Warhol memorabilia. One, whose contents are on display in the exhibit, brims over with Muppets merchandise. Sent by Jim Henson to Halston around the time of Warhol’s birthday, Halston regifted the pieces, inscribing them in marker: “To Andy, Happy Birthday, Love Halston.”

Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede opens at The Andy Warhol Museum on May 18. For more information, visit


Photo: Andy Warhol, Time Capsule 471, 1980–83

Photos: Courtesy of the Warhol Museum

Dear Harvey Weinstein: Please Don’t Bring Back Charles James


Harvey WeinsteinI sincerely hope the rumors that broke today about Harvey Weinstein’s plans to revive the house of Charles James are just rumors. According to Page Six, the movie mogul is in talks with James’ children to buy and “breathe new life into the Charles James name.” If the publication’s unnamed sources are to be believed, Weinstein aims to create an “exclusive couture house,” and will bring his wife, Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman, on as a “creative consultant.” At press time, Weinstein could not be reached for comment.

No one is more thrilled than I that last night’s Met Gala and the Charles James: Beyond Fashion exhibition have helped the public to discover the late great couturier, and given him the recognition he so deserves. And my reservations have nothing to do with Chapman’s skill as a designer—everyone she dressed for the Met bash looked lovely. Rather, my concern is that this will not celebrate, but muddy James’ legacy. James was of a certain era, and if some of the throwback styles we saw on the red carpet yesterday evening are any indication, his aesthetic does not easily translate to modern day. His gowns were works of sculpture, and I fear that if someone were to re-create them—or create wares “inspired” by them—the results will be cartoonish (or worse, mediocre) rather than respectful.

Look at Halston, which was also revived by Weinstein. (He invested in the brand along with Sarah Jessica Parker, but sold his share back in 2011.) Once the go-to label for the crème de la crème of New York’s seventies party scene, Halston’s new age incarnation is but a mid-market mockery of its former glory. Please, Mr. Weinstein, don’t let the same thing happen to James. Allow his brilliant, singular designs to be appreciated for the works of art that they truly are, and don’t attempt to transform his revolutionary mid-century vision into a 21st-century cash cow.

Photo: FilmMagic 

Halston and Warhol, Together Again


Liza Minnelli; Martha Graham; Andy Warhol; Halston

What better means to fete the Andy Warhol Museum’s twentieth birthday than with some help from another American icon? Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede, which opens on May 18, takes a look at the two men’s friendship and creative processes. Curated with the help of Halston’s niece Lesley Frowick, the exhibit will juxtapose forty of the designer’s most iconic pieces with Warhol’s films, paintings, and, of course, photos of Studio 54 glitterati (Halston included). Time to take a cue from Liza’s Oscars look, break out the flowing jewel-toned ensembles, and head to Pittsburgh.

Photo: Getty Images

Did You Get The Memo? Diana Vreeland In Her Own Words


Memos: The Vogue Years

“Our cover situation is drastic…We are on the verge of a drastic emergency.” So reads the first entry in the latest Diana Vreeland tome, Memos: The Vogue Years. Compiled by Vreeland’s grandson Alexander (the husband of Lisa Immordino Vreeland, who directed The Eye Has to Travel), the book features more than 250 of Vreeland’s infamous notes from her time at Vogue, which she’d dictate over the phone to her secretary while puffing on cigarettes in a wicker chair in the bathroom of her Park Avenue apartment. This, Alexander told us, was her preferred mode of communication. “She didn’t believe in meetings,” he said. His assertion is backed up by Diana’s memo to the Vogue team on page fifty-nine, in which she considers holding a meeting about the “controversial” topic of dress lengths, but resolves, “Usually, when we have meetings, we don’t get ideas and views from people.”

But it wasn’t just her staff whom she’d confront about everything from the importance of pearls and bangles to her annoyance with the mistreatment of her initials in her editor’s letter (above), to the necessity that Vogue‘s spreads “never, ever copy…any kind of coiffure that is reminiscent of the 30s, 40s, 50s,” via her rapier dictations. The book—which is available now from Rizzoli—also includes her correspondences with the likes of Richard (or Dick, as she called him) Avedon, Irving Penn (to whom she complains about lackluster tulips), Cecil Beaton, Cristobal Balenciaga (above), Halston, Veruschka, and beyond. Continue Reading “Did You Get The Memo? Diana Vreeland In Her Own Words” »

French Castle, American Story


2013 marks the fortieth anniversary of Le Grand Divertissement è Versailles, the runway battle royal that took place in 1973 between French fashion houses (Givenchy, Dior, Ungaro, Yves Saint Laurent, and Pierre Cardin) and American designers (Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Anne Klein, Stephen Burrows, and Bill Blass). Held as a fundraiser to restore the palace, the evening was attended by everyone from Andy Warhol to Princess Grace of Monaco, and, in addition to a bevy of couture, featured performances by the likes of Liza Minnelli and Josephine Baker (above).

But aside from being, perhaps, the most epic runway spectacle to date, Versailles marked the first time African-American models took a prominent place on the European fashion stage. Last night, in honor of the anniversary, and in celebration of Women’s History Month, the Fashion Institute of Technology hosted a screening of Deborah Riley Draper’s 2012 documentary, Versailles '73: American Runway Revolution. And the historic event’s stars, like Pat Cleveland (below, right), Billie Blair, Norma Jean Darden, and Bethann Hardison, among others, turned out for the film and a lively panel discussion. Continue Reading “French Castle, American Story” »