MYTH, LEGEND, HALSTON
The designer documentary Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston premiered some time ago and is finally opening tomorrow at the IFC Theatre in New York City and February 10th at Laemmle Music Hall 3 in Los Angeles. For those of you living outside of those cities, it is also available for rent right now through iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu, and IFC On Demand.
While the director inserts himself a bit too frequently into the narrative of Ultrasuede, the cast of top-notch interviewees and archival footage certainly make up for the distraction. The film offers an interesting overview of the rise and fall of the designer who, by all accounts, ruled 1970’s fashion and nightlife. Close friend of Liza Minelli, Elizabeth Taylor, Bianca Jagger, and Andy Warhol, Halston epitomized the era defined by glamour and excess. I’ll spare you the Wikipedia entry but there is much to know about this important member of the fashion canon so do check out the 80-minute documentary or pick up one of the several books about his life and work.
In the meantime, here is a promotional video commissioned by Halston in 1982 at the height of the brand’s success. Shortly after, in 1983, Halston’s lucrative but doomed partnership with JCPenney (followed by the deterioration of his relationship with changing parent companies, issues with drugs, health problems, etc.) marked the demise of his empire. See if you can spot Bill Cunningham, Andy Warhol, Steve Rubell (co-owner of Studio 54), Lauren Hutton, Carol Channing, and who I think are Diana Vreeland and Sophia Loren in the audience at the fashion shows. A Halston event had quite the draw!
Much of Halston’s legacy is wrapped in his after-hours activity at Studio 54 but also at his own den of iniquity, 101 East 63rd Street (frequently referred to simply as ‘101’). Halston bought the Paul Rudolph-designed townhouse in the early seventies and hosted many a raucous affair for his high-profile friends. That’s model and muse, Pat Cleveland, below dancing precariously above the living room with fellow scenester, Sterling St. Jacques.
Interior photography from Living Well – 1981 – via A Townhouselady’s Life, Halston portrait – 1975 – by Deborah Turbeville via Voguepedia, Candid photograph – 1975 – by Bob Colacello via Steven Kasher Gallery
The property was sold a few months before Halston’s death in 1990 and has since been home to industrialists Gianni Agnelli and Gunter Sachs. Gunter Sachs, former husband of Brigitte Bardot, took his life in Switzerland last year and now the famed ‘101’ is on the market again for a whopping $38,500,000.
Check out the listing here.