These days, few things do more to help revive a collective interest and fascination in a fashion figure from the past than a Netflix original. That’s certainly the case with designer Roy Halston Frowick, one of the biggest American designers in the ’70s that helped put the country on a similar level as the bigwigs of Parisian haute couture.
A still from Netflix’s series Halston, now available to stream.
Key to the Halston look is an elevation of American sportswear. That means, even in the case of cashmere wrap dresses and caftans, that there’s a thread of sportiness and ease that runs throughout. You’ll notice, too, that Halston was not a designer who cavorted with prints: instead, the obsessions are with cut, silhouette and sensuous draping.
Elsa Peretti modelling in a Halston show in the ’70s, wearing her own jewellery designs for Tiffany & Co.
The women who embodied this look best were a group of house models, or a cabine, or, as the editor Andre Leon Talley dubbed them, the Halstonettes. This fabulous group, consisting of names like Liza Minelli, Pat Cleveland, Elsa Peretti and Anjelica Huston, were dressed head to toe in Halston, and followed the designer around the world to help promote both the brand and American fashion.
There was the trip to the Great Wall in China, and even more legendarily, the Battle of Versailles where French couturiers and American designers duked it out in a battle of fashion. On all these occasions, the Halstonettes, dressed to the nines and embarking on international travel, were some of the earliest precursors to jet-set style. Or, what we might know today as airport fashion.
Pat Cleveland, played by Dilone in the show, models a Halston look at the designer’s Olympic Tower headquarters.
The big ideas behind the Halston look have persevered and today, it’s easy to see the influences in fashion designers the world over. Ironically, even French brands these days have taken elements of the look on board.
Here’s how, with a few simple pieces and styling tricks, to dress like a Halstonette.