Halston’s chief creative officer Robert Rodriguez at work. Picture: Jory Lee Cordy
Halston’s chief creative officer Robert Rodriguez at work. Picture: Jory Lee Cordy

Chief creative officer Robert Rodriguez revives Halston’s effortless luxury for the Netflix era

By Gerry Cupido Time of article published Jul 12, 2021

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“If I can get my designs on the one right person, I can get them on every woman in America.”

This line from the Netflix series, Halston, which is based on the life of Roy Halston Frowick, pretty much sums up what the designer achieved at the height of his career.

During the late 1970s, the heart of the disco era, the flamboyant designer had the most fabulous celebrities of the time - Liza Minnelli, Margaux Hemingway and Anjelica Huston, to name a few - wearing his garments, leaving every woman in America desiring to own a Halston.

From high-end luxury to ready-to-wear, his signature designs and creative use of fabrics earned him global status.

Ewan McGregor as Halston and Rebecca Dayan as Elsa Peretti. Picture: Jojo Whilden/Netflix © 2021

After years of global success during the 1970s and 1980s the Halston brand went through turbulent times, seeing the company change ownership a few times in an effort to stay afloat and move with the times.

With the release of the series, Halston’s new chief creative officer Robert Rodriguez is steering the brand back on course - and the iconic name is once again enjoying the limelight.

Halston’s chief creative officer Robert Rodriguez at work. Picture: Jory Lee Cordy

Subsequent to the release of the series, the brand collaborated with the streamer and dropped a capsule collection of 10 dresses. The dresses are all featured in the series and each is named after the women who inspired Halston over the years.

We spoke to Rodriguez about the collection and the show’s wardrobe.

What was your creative process when designing the capsule collection?

I started by looking at the key looks in the series and narrowed those down to the 10 most iconic designs that I felt would resonate most with our customer.

I modernised the styles by changing fabrications, proportions and silhouettes. Halston loved colour, so I was sure to highlight that, and I focused on shimmer jersey fabrics and batik prints, which he was known for.

Out of all the Halston classics, how did you select the 10 dresses for the capsule?

The capsule collection was created based on the Halston series as well as original costume designs that Jeriana San Juan (the costume designer for the series) created.

I had a phone conversation with Jeriana about Halston, and how he had inspired us in so many ways throughout our careers - from the simplicity of his iconic kaftans to the iconic jersey disco-inspired sheer dresses.

I wanted to recreate a collection that felt iconic to Halston but in a modern way. Some of the key noteworthy styles include the: “Elsa”, a sapphire blue batik printed silk chiffon kaftan; a red and fuchsia printed silk chiffon cascade gown; the “Liza”, a gold lurex pleated kaftan; and the “Angelica” a ruched viscose jersey one-shoulder gown, just to name a few.

The Elsa. Picture: Supplied

Which of the dresses is your favourite?

They’re all my children, it’s hard to pick a favourite, but if I have to choose, I love the “Liza.” It’s a shimmering silver sheer pleated caftan with a bodysuit. I love that the silhouette is very reminiscent of Halston, yet the bodysuit modernises it. It also has amazing movement when it’s on the body.

The Liza. Picture: Supplied

During the 1970s, owning and wearing a Halston design was a must. How do you think today’s woman would feel about owning one?

I think the Halston woman of today is very similar to his clients in the 1970s. She is still looking for that effortless simplicity, which was iconic to Halston. Fluidity and femininity have always been a part of my DNA and there’s a certain sexiness we both love. Fashion in the 1970s was about fantasy and I feel like it remains true today.

Do you believe that the series captured the spirit of Roy Halston?

I loved how the show captured his emotions and illustrated his passion. He stopped caring about what people thought and just went out and did his own thing, and I think this was a big part of his success.

Ewan McGregor as Halston and Krysta Rodriguez as Liza Minnelli. Picture: Patrick McMullan/Netflix © 2021

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