Fashion Biography

Roy Halston, Fashion Designer


Roy Halston Frowick, know as just Halston, was born in Des Moines, Iowa, on April 23, 1932. He studied at the Indiana University and the Art Institute of Chicago. He began his career as a milliner in Chicago, designing the hats for the millinery shop Lilly Dache. He most famously the pillbox hat Jacqueline Kennedy wore to her husband"s 1961 Presidential inauguration. In 1966 he moved to designing women"s wear, which led to Newsweek dubbing him the premier fashion designer of all America. His designs were worn by Bianca Jagger, Liza Minnelli, Anjelica Huston, Lauren Bacall, Babe Paley, and Elizabeth Taylor, setting a style that would be synonymous with the international jet set of the era. His pieces were renowned for their streamline, yet elegant look.

Halston was known as the first designer to realize the potential of licensing himself; his influence went beyond style to reshape the business of fashion. Through a licensing agreement with JC Penney, he created designs that were accessible to women at a variety of income levels. Though this practice is not uncommon today, in a controversial move at the time Halston, his perfume, was sold in a bottle designed by Elsa Peretti and was the second biggest selling perfume of all time. Halston redesigned the Braniff Airline uniforms, which were designed in the past by Emilio Pucci.
In spite of his achievements, his increasing drug use and failure to meet deadlines undermined his success. He was fired from his own company and lost the right to design and sell clothes under his own name in October of 1984. He later died of lung cancer from complications of AIDS in San Francisco, California, in 1990.

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