Halston Style exhibition celebrates career of trailblazing American designer

Few American designers have made an impact on global fashion like Halston. The designer, who made his name in the 1970s, is synonymous with the glamour of the disco age. A regular at the legendary nightclub Studio 54, Halston created clothes for America’s elite – including First Ladies Jacqueline Kennedy and Betty Ford, and movie stars like Elizabeth Taylor and Lauren Bacall. He most notably was Liza Minnelli’s exclusive designer when she was at the top of her career.

Halston gown for Liza Minnelli inThe Act,1977, Illustration by Joe Eula

Halson's legacy is being showcased in Halston Style — the first comprehensive retrospective of his work — currently on view through Sunday, July 9, 2017 at the Nassau County Museum of Art in Long Island, New York. The exhibition was organized by Guest Curator Lesley Frowick, Halston's niece and confidant, who also wrote the definitive book on Halston, Halston: Inventing American Fashion.

“He created a uniquely American definition of chic that remains relevant to this day -- one of simplicity made elegant. He was the first superstar American designer,"  writes Frowick in her book.
 
The exhibition presents a mixture of 60 of Halston’s most famous creations, including the iconic pillbox hat worn by Jackie Kennedy, and his signature Ultrasuede shirtdress. Dozens of gowns are on view, as well as costumes created for the modern dance legend Martha Graham.  Many never-before-seen objects from the designer's personal archives help round out the designer’s personal story. A section spotlighting the designer’s collaborations with artists like Elsa Peretti, the photographer Hiro, and even Andy Warhol adds additional dimension. Sketches drawn by the designer himself or his design assistant Steven Sprouse, and looks illustrated by the artist Joe Eula, as well as film and video documentation, bring his story to life.
 
At the forefront of the U.S. fashion industry, Halston celebrated his American roots and avidly supported American institutions. He is one of the first designers to license his name for more accessible collections, and designed an affordable line of clothing for JC Penney, as well as uniforms for the Girl Scouts and the U.S. Olympic team.
The exhibition is sponsored by “H Halston exclusively at Lord & Taylor.”

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