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Ultrasuede: In Search Of Halston

by Bill Biss
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday May 29, 2012
Ultrasuede: In Search Of Halston

Directed and narrated by Whitney Sudler-Smith, "Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston" released by Tribeca Film chronicles the American and international rise, tremendous success and ultimate fall of the legendary fashion designer, Roy Halston. The iconic name of "Halston" is synonymous with celebrity superstars, Studio 54 and most importantly Halston's amazing talent for clothing design.

One of his dearest friends and confidantes, Liza Minnelli begins the documentary. It's amazing how the designer dressed Liza Minnelli for a tremendous amount of her career at that time. An important comment from Minnelli is, "Find out about the real stuff and f@#k the gossip!" In Smith's search for just that, he finds a Halston archive stored in a Bible College; of all places in Nashville, Tennessee and hits the Met Fashion Institute in New York. Another extremely informative interview is conducted with Vogue's Andre Leon-Talley. Talley elaborates on Halston's beginnings as a designer of women's hats, his influence on popular culture and his sense of the divine element in fashion... creating the Pillbox hat for Jacqueline Kennedy for newly elected President Kennedy's inaugural ceremony.

Opening his own Ready-To-Wear salon, Halston took America by storm. An innovator of fabrics, minimalistic design along with his uncanny ability to create "chic" women's clothing had the fashion industry and women agog with passionate admiration. Halston is featured in archival interviews and one of his opinions of his work, as he states, "You are as good as the people you dress." He then rattles off many a remarkable list of entertainment and influential women.

His friendship with Andy Warhol is also defined. This was in the glorious and uproarious days of New York's Studio 54 nightclub and Whitney Sudler-Smith takes the time to dive in to the decadence and star-power of the infamous, yet of-so-glamorous club with a revealing look. While this detour offers a glimpse into the lifestyles of the rich and famous... it also exposes the darker side of fame.

Halston's eventual and remarkable fashion empire encompassed everything from shoes, cologne, bags and a men's clothing line in addition to his outstanding women's line of clothing. Unfortunately and sadly, to his friends, business associates and those wearing and admiring his body of work, Roy Halston died of lung cancer and complications from HIV in 1990. Whitney Sudler-Smith has created a true and timely tribute in "Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston.

"Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston"
Tribeca Film


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