Tag Archives: Diana Vreeland

HALSTON

Nearly thirty years after his death, Halston—the master of American minimalism and fashion’s greatest cautionary tale—has finally received a documentary worthy of his contributions. Unlike the designs of its subject, the film is somewhat padded with yards of unnecessary material. But this should not deter its intended audience from enjoying the ensemble.

Directed by Frédéric Tcheng—the filmmaker behind documentaries about Raf Simons (Dior and I) and Diana Vreeland (The Eye Has to Travel)—HALSTON hits an early peak when, one after another, his core house models—dismissively labeled “Halstonettes” by Loulou de la Falaise—testify to the talent of the man who could throw a bolt of fabric onto the showroom floor and, within minutes, create the basis of a couture gown:

“[Wearing a Halston dress imparted] elegance and ease. A sense of owning power without being masculine. And honoring the body you have.” — Alva Chinn

“You were free inside his clothes.” — Karen Bjornson

“He took away the cage. You didn’t really need the structure as much as you needed the woman. He really based most of his collections on us girls.” — Pat Cleveland

So where did it all go wrong? Cocaine and Studio 54 may have started the slide—and in the film, jewelry designer and Halston confidante Else Peretti gives a hilarious digression on mind-altering substances and their use:

“We worked all night… we didn’t get high… yes, we smoked, but no hard drugs… well, maybe a little coke…”

Because when you’re working all night…

But the man who introduced Halston to Studio 54, illustrator Joe Eula, traces the designer’s fall to the delusions of grandeur that set in after the move to the Olympic Tower studio, with its lofty, across-the-street view of St. Patrick’s spires.

The irascible, amphetamine-dependent fashion genius Charles James, who briefly worked with Halston Limited, was—typically—incendiary:

“Halston is a middle-of-the-road man who’d be better as a buyer in a store, or a stylist. He knows how to select good things to copy. But his passion is to put his name on it, for which action the word ‘plagiarism’ is correct.”

In the film, Fred Rottman, a workroom supervisor at Halston, is quick to deflect:

“Halston didn’t copy. He took concepts of Charles James’ and relaxed them.”

Halston’s era—the 1970s and early ’80s—was the time of out-of-control franchising. A designer sold his name to and sometimes designed for an array of manufacturers, slapping the cachet of his or her moniker on, yes, perfume and handbags, but also bedsheets, luggage, rugs, car interiors, and—in Halston’s case—uniforms for Braniff Airlines and the Girl Scouts of America.

This obsession to design everything for everyone, trading “class” for “mass,” led to the sale of his company to a conglomerate—a subject the film spends far too much time on. Suffice to say, Halston lost his judgment: How could he imagine that Bergdorf Goodman would want to carry a brand that was also hanging on the racks at J.C. Penney?

The film includes interviews with the designer’s friends Liza Minnelli, Bob Colacello, Marisa Berenson, Iman, Joel Schumacher, Naeem Khan, and his niece Lesley Frowick.

HALSTON

Through Thursday, June 6.

Nuart Theatre

11272 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Los Angeles.

The director will participate in post-screening Q & A’s after the 7 pm shows on Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1.

On June 7, HALSTON will open at the Monica Film Center in Santa Monica, the Playhouse 7 in Pasadena, and the Town Center 5 in Encino.

From top: Halston at work in his Olympic Tower studio; Halston in the 1960s, photograph © Jean Barthet; the designer with Anjelica Huston—a frequent model for the house—and Liza Minnelli, photographs by Berry Berenson (2); U.S. poster; Halston in 1973 at 33 East 68th Street, New York City, photograph © estate of Charles Tracy. Images courtesy CNN Films and 1091 Media.

VREELAND’S BEATON

Lisa Immordino Vreeland—director of documentaries about her grandmother-in-law Diana Vreeland, and Peggy Guggenheim—turns her eye to photographer, diarist, and set and costume designer Cecil Beaton in her new film LOVE, CECIL.

Vreeland will be at the Nuart this week for a post-screening Q & A.

LOVE, CECIL

LISA IMMORDINO VREELAND Q & A

Friday, July 20, at 7:15 pm.

Film plays through July 26.

Nuart Theatre

11272 Santa Monica Boulevard, West Los Angeles.

From top:

Poster image credit Zeitgeist Films.

Truman Capote in Morocco, photographed by Cecil Beaton.

Greta Garbo in New York City, photographed by Cecil Beaton.

Beaton at Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball, New York City, 1965.

LOULOU DE LA FALAISE

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“This book is an oral biography of Paris fashion between the glittering years when Loulou was the light between all the characters.” — André Leon Talley

Christopher Petkanis LOULOU & YVES: THE UNTOLD STORY OF LOULOU DE LA FALAISE AND THE HOUSE OF SAINT LAURENT is a massive oral history centered around the life and times of YSL muse and employee Loulou de la Falaise.

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Among the voices heard from in the book are those of Cecil Beaton, Diana Vreeland, Thadée Klossowski, Robert Mapplethorpe, Helmut Newton, Hubert de Givenchy, Manolo Blahnik, Maxime de la Falaise, Diane von Furstenberg, Marianne Faithfull, Nicky Haslam, Elsa Peretti, Betty Catroux, John Richardson, Kenneth Jay Lane, Alber Elbaz, Christian Louboutin, Grace Coddington, Ben Brantley, Jane Ormsby Gore, Bruce Chatwin, Amy Fine Collins, Patrick Bauchau, Lady Annabel Goldsmith, Pierre Bergé, Talley, and Loulou herself.

See: us.macmillan.com/book

Top: Marina Schiano, Loulou de la Falaise, Yves Saint Laurent, and Steve Rubell at the Opium launch party, New York City, 1978.

Above: Thadée Klossowski, Paloma Picasso, and YSL. Polaroid by Andy Warhol.

Below: YSL and de la Falaise.

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ANDRÉ LEON TALLEY AT LACMA

“The late seventies, when André Leon Talley came into his own, is the period when designers like Yves Saint Laurent and Halston produced the clothes that Talley covered at the beginning of his career at WWD, clothes often described as glamorous. It is the period referred to in the clothes being produced now by designers like Marc Jacobs and Anna Sui. ‘It was a time when I could take Diana Vreeland and Lee Radziwill to a LaBelle concert at the Beacon and it wouldn’t look like I was about to mug them,” Talley says.

Daniela Morera, a correspondent for Italian Vogue, has a different recollection. ‘André was privileged because he was a close friend of Mrs. Vreeland’s,’ she says. ‘Black people were as segregated in the industry as they are now… André enjoyed a lot of attention from whites because he was ambitious and amusing. He says it wasn’t bad because he didn’t know how bad it was for other blacks in the business. He was successful because he wasn’t a threat. He’ll never be an editor-in-chief… No matter that André’s been the greatest crossover act in the industry for quite some time. Like forever.’ ” — Hilton Als, 1994*

Talley—Anna Wintour’s legendary right hand man—has been captured on film in Kate Novack’s new documentary THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRÉ, presented this week by Film Independent at LACMA. The director and her subject will be on hand for a conversation after the screening.

 

ANDRÉ LEON TALLEY and KATE NOVACK—

THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ANDRÉ

Thursday, May 10, at 7:30.

LACMA, Bing Theater

5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles.

* Hilton Als, “The Only One,” The New Yorker, November 7, 1994, 110. (Reprinted in Als’ White Girls, 2013.)

Top: André Leon Talley and Yves Saint Laurent. Image credit: Getty.

Middle: Talley and Diana Ross dancing at Studio 54, circa 1979. Photograph by Sonia Moskowitz/Getty Images.

Below: Diana Vreeland and André Leon Talley working at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The model is Marlene Dietrich in the show Romantic and Glamorous Hollywood Design, 1974. Photograph by Bill Cunningham.

VINCE ALETTI ON PETER HUJAR

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Vince Aletti—collector, photography critic, and Peter Hujar’s East Village neighbor and friend—will join David Wojnarowicz biographer Cynthia Carr, author Jonathan D. Katz, and Hujar model and printing lab co-founder Gary Schneider for a conversation about Hujar, in conjunction with the Morgan exhibition of the photographer’s work.

 

PETER HUJARLIFE AND TIMES, Saturday, April 7, at 2 pm.

themorgan.org/peter-hujar-life-and-times

PETER HUJAR—SPEED OF LIFE, through May 20.

MORGAN LIBRARY AND MUSEUM, 225 Madison Avenue, at 36th Street, New York City.

themorgan.org/peter-hujar

See: anothermag.com/vince-aletti-on-peter-hujar

And: lens.blogs.nytimes.com/peter-hujar-gay-lower-east-side

Above: Peter HujarDiana Vreeland (II), 1975. © Estate of Peter Hujar, courtesy of Maureen Paley, London, and Pace/MacGill GalleryNew York

Below: Peter HujarDavid Wojnarowicz, 1981. © Estate of Peter Hujar, courtesy of Maureen Paley, London, and Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York.

David Wojnarowicz, 1981

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