The No. 1 new Netflix series “Halston,” with Ewan McGregor as the designer whose breezy minimalism helped define the fashions of the 1970s and ‘80s, has got us thinking again about the man who gave Jacqueline Kennedy the pillbox hat she wore to husband John F. Kennedy’s 1961 presidential inauguration and The Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham the beaded mask she wore to Truman Capote’s 1966 Black and White Ball, held in her honor at The Plaza Hotel.
We once went to a cocktail party at Halston’s Manhattan townhouse where muses Martha Graham and Lisa Minnelli along with Mikhail Baryshnikov, graced the couch in the sunken living room. Halston was an impeccable host — there at the living room entrance to receive his guests, treating us as if we belonged in such exalted company. When we tripped, Halston didn’t bat an eye, just ensured we were all right.
We had a few minutes on the couch with Graham. With her cinnamon rolls of raven hair and shimmering Halston caftan sheathing her birdlike frame, she looked like nothing so much as a dowager empress. We remarked on how we had always thought of her as a feminist role model, and she replied, “Oh, don’t say that my dear. I’ve always gotten exactly what I wanted from men.”
Despite his lofty status, Halston was a tragic figure, not only because he died of AIDS in 1990 at age 57 but because he became the victim of his own success. Today, the Halston label is part of Xcel Brands.
For more, visit https://www.netflix.com/title/80245103/ .
— Georgette Gouveia