This documentary investigates the rise and fall of 70s fashion icon, Halston | i-D

Writer-director Frédéric Tcheng celebrates the forgotten legacy of the designer who took on Wall Street.

At a birthday party on 2 May 1977 paparazzi captured a scene that would become one of the most iconic images in fashion history. The location was Studio 54, and the birthday girl was none other than Bianca Jagger, who was celebrating at the nightclub alongside Andy Warhol, Liza Minnelli, and her husband, Rolling Stone frontman Mick Jagger. In one of the grandest entrances ever to grace the newspapers, Jagger rode a snow white stallion across the dancefloor of New York City’s most legendary discotheque.

Nowadays, it’s impossible to think of the famed nightspot without the image of the reigning queen springing to mind. But even as the stunt is held up as emblematic of the era’s decadent excesses, the designer who created the sumptuous, off-the-shoulder dress that Jagger wore that night has faded into the shadows. Until now, thanks to a new fashion documentary Halston, which uncovers the forgotten legacy of one of the greatest American designers of all time.

It’s perhaps surprising that it’s taken so long for a film to emerge about the so-called golden boy of American couture, an injustice that French writer-director Frédéric Tcheng has taken great lengths to rectify as he pieces together fragments of Halston’s life and work. Tcheng is an old hand at fashion investigation films, previously working on Valentino: The Last EmperorDiana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel and Dior and I. Beginning with Halston’s early years as a young, gay man growing up in rural Iowa, Halston charts the stratospheric rise of his brand, through to his tragic downfall at the hands of corporate management who fired him from his own label. This is a story of creative genius versus big business, and over the course of the documentary, it becomes clear why more people don’t know Halston’s name.

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