Why Did Halston Fashion Break Ceilings? Analysing 6 Iconic Moments

Why Did Halston Fashion Break Ceilings? Analysing 6 Iconic Moments

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Roy Halston Frowick, popularly known as Halston, rose to international fame with his minimalist designs in the mid-70s. He redefined fashion as relaxed urban lifestyle clothing for American women.

Halston started his career in the early 1950s with a business of designing hats for women. In those times, he was just a milliner. He accumulated a well-known clientele and opened a store in Chicago known as the Magnificent Mile. Halston Fashion received public attention when he designed the famous pillbox hat for Jacqueline Kennedy. During the 1960s, Halston was already planning to expand his business into women's commercial fashion clothing. He also started his ready to wear line for women.

Halston Fashion from the beginning has been synonymous with high status, luxury and fame. His label revolves around his fame and fashion. But at the very fag end of his life and career, he experimented with regular use of clothing wear as he insisted that his clothes should be accessible to all. He had a difficult childhood, but he was always fond of designing hats for his mother. As he started his journey into the big world of fashion, he never stopped reinventing or experimenting with his designs. His designs have always had a hint of his signature styles.

Halston’s iconic style

Halston's fashion was overtly simple and understated. The simple designs were both luxurious yet understated. The fabric was luxurious, and the designs were the epitome of comfort. His pertinent designs consisted of body-fitted kaftans, silk wraparound dresses, long capes in just one piece of fabric. The careful manipulation of drapes around the body gave these designs sensuality. 

The shirt dresses were made of synthetic machine washable Ultrasuede material. These were classy and sophisticated. He was at the top of his game every time he launched a new fashion line. His ideas were fashionable and regular yet sophisticated.

While Halston had all the reasons to be flying high in the world of fame and popularity, there were some reasons that led to his downfall. Let us analyse the six iconic moments of his career where he rose not just to fame but also showed state of the art unforgettable designs.

  1. Experimentation with designs
Halstone Fashion\n

At the very beginning of Halston’s career, he started experimenting with designs and styles. His most famous experiment is what was known as the “brand diffusion”. Halston launched his made to order and ready to wear business clothing line in New York's Madison Avenue. It was an outlet that catered to a high-status exclusive clientele, including big television personalities such as Lauren Bacall and Greta Garbo. The Halston Fashion boutique hosted dresses with prices ranging from $150 - $1000. The Halston International designs consisted of knitted garments such as turtlenecks, sweaters, shirts and coats.

  1. Ahead of times

Although Halston Fashion catered to the current generation, his designs were always ahead of time. His success is attributed to the creation of many collections, and one such collection was uniforms that he created for the winter and summer 1976 Olympic athletes. His name was highlighted significantly on his products, including perfumes, linens, wearables and other accessories. He participated in the fashion battle of Versailles, where he was joined by Stephen Burrows, Oscar de la Renta, and others. This fashion battle was between American and French designers for raising money for the restoration of the palace.

  1. Successful collaborations with other designers

Halston fashion did not stop at a single piece of merchandise. Rather, his collaborations fetched him more than that. His collaboration with one of the most upscale fashion designers of that time, Pierre Cardin, renowned for selling Levis and other household goods, had him collect a revenue of almost $1 billion in sales. This pairing was immensely successful yet unusually fell, as later the designs were not selling. Later it proved to be a disastrous commitment by Halston.

  1. Celebrity designs

Angelica Huston was a regular for Halston Fashion ramps. In 1972, she wore a Halston designed casual, three-piece dress made of regular pants and crop top teamed with a flowy cape. Lauren Hutton wore a chiffon gown for the 75th Oscars is, one of the most iconic dresses made by Halston. Halston created a red coloured floor-length gown for Elizabeth Taylor to attend the 44th Annual Academy Awards. His unique designs catered to both genders. The unisex clothing line bought him more clientele. Early stages saw many mixed designs, but later, he started a manufacturing line dedicated only to men.

  1. Wardrobe revival of “Hello Dolly” and designing uniforms for the Braniff Airways

In 1973 Halston worked to create a wardrobe for Carol Channing for her revival of “Hello Dolly”. The cover girl wardrobe provided by Halston for the “Hello Dolly” entertainment series spanning across 25 countries was a vintage affair. The designs were exclusive to “Hello Dolly”, which gave immense fame to Halston.

Soon after the wardrobe revival series, he was contacted by Braniff Airways in 1977. He made distinctive uniforms with an “H” logo and muted colour combinations in brown. The Argentine leather used for the clothing line later was extended by the Airways and used for their seats and other upholstery as well. 

  1. The iconic pillbox hat

In 1961, Halston made the iconic pillbox hat for Jacqueline Kennedy. The hat gave Halston unprecedented fame. Halston was working as a milliner at Bergdorf Goodman. But this fabricated hat pushed him into the limelight and higher societies. His name began to be counted among fashion designers. Post the introduction of the pillbox hat, Halston went to establish his name and his brand independently. It was a defining moment for Halston’s fashion career, and till today, pillbox hats are commonly adorned by royals. It was surely a popular time for hats, but soon hats went out of fashion, so Halston shifted his focus from hats to designing clothes on a large scale.

Reasons for the downfall of Halston Fashion

Halstone Fashion\n

Halston saw many bitter deals which caused the restructuring of his business. He made a lot of deals that were bad for business and caused him a lot of financial losses. His worst deal was not to be able to use his name for his creations. His ailments, such as drug addiction and later getting diagnosed with AIDS, were a major setback. His hookups and other misleading news would unravel in the media, and he would have to pay extensively to several secret agencies. He also shifted his area of work from a fashion designer to a costume designer in Martha Graham's dance company. Media hype and regular missing deals, with no name to his own clothing line, all made him lose his innings in the fashion world. 


Halston stayed in the limelight for almost three decades with uncountable designs for famous celebrities. Careful selection of designs for fashion exclusivity for his clients and one of their kind, creative ideas were the reasons behind his immense success. What truly made him stand out from the rest of the designers was the fashion-forward designs of those times.

Halston fashion had its own charm, and all budding designers can take cues from his creativity and endless desire to deliver something new. Fashinza is a fashion platform where new designers can find designs, creative ideas and trending fabrics for today's generation. The website is a one-stop destination to explore manufacturers, suppliers and different brands under one roof. You can connect with fashion retailers for future ventures. Get details of fellow designers and follow them for trends. Fashinza can help you track your orders, make payments, and get your things delivered in a completely transparent way.


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