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The Fashion Behind Halston': Bringing the Famed Designer's Clothes to Life

13/05/2021

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The Fashion Behind Halston': Bringing the Famed Designer's Clothes to Life

Netflix Staff

Entertainment

13 May 2021

Global

A Halston. Back in the 70s and 80s, everyone knew what made a piece of clothing from the famed designer so distinct. So when costume designer Jeriana San Juan was tasked with recreating these signature looks - and so many more - for the limited series about Halston's meteoric rise and shocking fall, the pressure was on. Thankfully, the costume designer was more than ready for the assignment. Ahead of the May 14th release of Halston, starring Ewan McGregor in the title role, we spoke with San Juan about being a lifelong fan, working with Halston's personal tailor to recreate his wardrobe and how Halston's work is still influencing fashion today.

Were you familiar with Halston's story and work when you first got involved with the show?

Yes, I first connected with the project because I'm such a fan of Halston's work. In my initial meetings with Dan Minahan, our fearless director, I gushed about my experience studying Halston's work in fashion design school - pouring over images of his collections in the library at school and looking through archival footage. It was exciting to do something that married my costume design knowledge with my fashion design background.

How did you approach dressing Halston in the show?

In researching Halston, one of the most incredible things was finding people who had known him personally and who wanted to help this project because they wanted to help their friend. I came to know Halstons personal style very intimately, and that began when I found a tailor named Gino Balsamo who worked at Halston Limited. He was the tailor in the shop assigned to make Halstons personal clothes. Halston only wore his own designs, and he wanted to wear fabrics that did all the things for him that they did for women; created ease, effortless strength, and effortless beauty. Halston had unique nuances in his clothes - he created these pants with no side seam and specific pocket placements. Gino actually came to my shop and worked with us to create and pattern clothes the same way that he did for Halston.

How did you collaborate with Ewan McGregor on Halston's costuming?

We worked very closely together not just on his costuming, but on the design process. He would come to the shop just to observe the tailors, or watch me do a fitting, to get a better idea of how a designer works. It was a very unique experience - we worked on how to pin clothes properly, how clothes are constructed and assembled, how to move through a workroom, and I even walked him through where my eyes go when I'm designing so he could better track his eyeline when he's designing as Halston in the show.

How did you source the key costumes for the show?

Most of the pieces in our show on our main characters are created from scratch. I found vintage dealers from every corner of the world, but vintage clothes are often not in fantastic shape, and I wanted to make sure the costumes fit with the same ease and pristine effortless style that defines Halston. There are also many original Halston pieces in the show. Halston's entire archive was disassembled when he left the company, but I was able to find pieces that were tucked away. Lesley Frowick, Halston's niece, had gifted a great deal of his work to Lipscomb University. I worked with a company called Toray International, the original manufacturer of Ultrasuede fabric, and they gave me a ton of Ultrasuede that was the same quality Halston used in his designing. We also worked with Tiffany & Co. to obtain all of the original Elsa Peretti jewelry.

What about Halston's work as a fashion designer was so groundbreaking?

There's an ease, a suaveness to his clothing - and even in his early work as a milliner. But if you look at the architecture and practical building of all those pieces, theyre actually quite complicated. Halstons work is very much like sculpture; he treated fabrics as his medium and manipulated them like a true artist. He would pleat, wrap, and use textiles in a way that was unconventional and celebrated a woman's figure instead of creating rigid tailoring that bound it. It was all about ease and softness, and that approach is still influencing fashion today.

Halston premieres May 14 on Netflix.
LINK: https://about.netflix.com/en/news/the-fashion-behind-halston...
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