Roy Halston Frowick
Neema Clothing Ltd
After rising in the fashion world in the sixties as a milliner for Bergdorf Goodman (and, famously, Jacqueline Kennedy), Roy Halston Frowick launched his eponymous womenswear label in 1968, buoyed by his connections with socialites and celebrities. Halston expanded to include menswear and perfume in 1975.
In 1973, Norton Simon incorporated Halston's business for $ 12 million and named this new division of its conglomerate Halston Enterprises Inc.
In 1983, Halston signed with J.C. Penney, the large department store, for a cheaper line, which caused many of his higher class clientele to leave him.
Despite his achievements, his increasing drug use and failure to meet deadlines (he was reluctant to hire junior designers to design licensed products) undermined his success. In October of 1984 he was fired from his own company and lost the right to design and sell clothes under his own name. In 1990, he died, when only 58 years old, of lung cancer from complications of AIDS in San Francisco, California.
As "the first designer to realize the potential of licensing himself," his influence went beyond style to reshape the business of fashion. Through his licensing agreement with JC Penney, his designs were accessible to women at a variety of income levels. Although this practice is not uncommon today, it was 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.
New fragrances bearing the Halston name were introduced in 1994 and 1995, but the name and its legacy languished until the company was dismantled in 1996. French Fragrances Inc. bought the Halston scents; Tropic Tex Apparel bought the remainder of the Halston's products. To support the reintroduction of the Halston brand and image, Tropic Tex launched a major advertising campaign and brought Randolph Duke on board as creative director.
Over the next few years, the Halston name was licensed for beds and linens, scarves, belts, handbags, hosiery, sunglasses, jewelry, timepieces, leather apparel, sleepwear, and foundations. In the capable hands of Duke, Halston Signature womenswear regained much of its cachetï¿½trunk shows at Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue sold over $200,000-worth of couture in a few days in 1997. A menswear launch, however, was not as successful and the overexposure in licensing caught up
with Tropic Tex.
After experiencing financial difficulties, Tropic Tex agreed to sell Halston International to the Connecticut-based Catterton Group in April 1998.
Halston's new owners fired Duke and hired Kevan Hall, who had worked there briefly earlier in the year and abruptly left. Yet by 1999 Catterton had sold Halston's assets to Neema Clothing Ltd., which then hired Craig Natiello as design director. A new Halston Signature menswear line debuted in 2001 after a series of delays, and Natiello had settled in with his womenswear designs.
Thai-born Piyawat joined Halston in April 2001. When Craig Natiello left, he took over the design for Halston. He presented a successful Fall/Winter 2002 collection, followed by another for Spring/Summer 2003.
Bradley Bayou joined Halston in December 2002 and has created the collections for Fall 2003 and for Spring/Summer 2004 which was shown during New York Fashion Week in September 2003.
It was revived in fall 2008 by Harvey Weinstein, Jimmy Chooï¿½s Tamara Mellon, and stylist Rachel Zoe. The owners installed former Versace designer Marco Zanini as creative chief, who showed his first collection in February 2008. Net-a-Porter signed on to sell pieces immediately following the show. But Zanini was dismissed in July 2008, amid rumors of disagreements among the creative board about the direction of the line. No successor has been named; the subsequent spring 2009 collection was presented at the Museum of Modern Art and created by an unnamed design team.
The label is noted for its luxurious but minimalist, modern designs, like heavyweight cashmere evening dresses, ultrasuede wrap coats, and simple jersey sarongs.
Debra Messing, Oprah Winfrey, Jenna Elfmann, Salma Hayek, Gloria Swanson, Deborah Kerr, Bianca Jagger, Liza Minnelli, Bianca Jagger, Anjelica Huston, Lauren Bacall, Babe Paley, Elizabeth Taylor