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Halston Is Finally Getting the TV Series He Deserves

Photo: Getty

How did they never make a TV series about Halston? Ask Ewan McGregor. The actor will star in and executive-produce a limited series based on the life of the legendary designer, written by Sharr White of The Affair and directed by American Crime Story’s Dan Minahan. The show, called Simply Halston, is not attached to a network yet, nor does it have a release date.

For the uninitiated, who must be few: Halston was one of the most influential designers of the 1970s and 1980s, if not the most influential. Famous for his slinky dresses, Halston was the designer of choice for and confidante to the best dressed women of the ’70s. A regular of Studio 54, he was rarely seen without either Liza Minnelli or Bianca Jagger.

Within fashion, he was greatly praised for streamlined creations that ranged from shirtdresses to sweaters all the way to ornate beaded caftans. In 1980, Vogue wrote of Halston’s influence, “He launched polyurethane for American fashion, and 50,000 women jumped into the Halston Ultrasuede shirtdress. He made a matte-jersey halter-top ‘drop dead’ glamour dress.”

Halston in 1980, Ewan McGregor in 2018. Photos: Getty Images

Born Roy Halston Frowick in Iowa, Halston started his career as a milliner in Chicago, designing the pillbox hat Jackie Kennedy wore for her husband’s inauguration in 1960. By 1966, he had arrived in New York with his first ready-to-wear boutique within Bergdorf’s. It only took a few short years for Halston to become one of the most powerful forces in American fashion, chosen in 1973 as one of five designers to represent America in the “Battle of Versailles” fashion show of American and French talent at the palace. For that, he brought his regular band of Halstonettes—Pat Cleveland, Beverly Johnson, Karen Bjornson, and Alva Chinn among them. “What we did, perhaps more than anybody else in the business, was to relax fashion and to create an American point of view that wasn’t there on that level before,” he told Vogue in 1980.

The tides changed for the designer in the 1980s, as he eyed expansion and the introduction of diffusion and home lines. By the middle of the decade, Halston had sold a stake in his business and ultimately lost the rights to his own name. He died in 1990.

We expect Halston’s legacy to be in good hands—director Dan Minahan was behind several episodes of American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, which depicted the murder of the Italian designer in 1997. As for McGregor, its hard to deny the physical resemblance between the two. One looming question remains: Whoever will play Liza with a Z?

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