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Halston artistic director on how the Netflix series revived the brand

By Julia Garel

29 Jun 2021

Fashion |INTERVIEW

Robert Rodriguez - Halston Netflix

After the Halston brand has passed through the hands of several investors since the death of its founder - including those of film producer and sex offender Harvey Weinstein - it is now experiencing a revival. This big name in American fashion, which was born in 1966 as a ready-to-wear label, is now finding its audience in a new generation thanks to the Netflix series of the same name.

Halston has been associated with the Hilco Brands Group since 2007 and has had many creative directors at the top: Marco Zanini, Marios Schwab, the actress Sarah Jessica Parker. Robert Rodriguez has been the artistic director since the end of 2019 and has come up with a capsule collection, especially with the Netflix teams - available for pre-order since last week. FashionUnited exchanged emails with Robert Rodriguez to better understand the legacy of an aesthetic that has shaped American fashion.

You joined Halston just before 2020. How would you rate this first year?

I started at Halston in November 2019 as Creative Director. Shortly thereafter, I started thinking about rebranding Halston. It was an exciting time for me as I have watched Halston's work throughout my career and had a great deal of admiration for the brand. The first time I heard or saw the name Halston I think was when my mother gave me a bottle of her men's fragrance. I was about twelve years old, and even then, as a little boy, I knew I wanted to design women's clothing.

Has the Halston fashion house kept all the collections designed by Roy Halston Frowick? How is your relationship with this archive? Do you refer to it often or try to keep some distance from this legacy?

The Halston archives are kept. While I don't physically consult them often, I regularly refer to photos and previous work for inspiration. I try to stay true to the brand's heritage while staying modern and fresh at the same time.

How do you creatively develop a brand with such an iconic past?

In a way, Halston and I are very similar in everything he loved. We are both minimalists when it comes to designing collections. Opulence and femininity have always been part of my DNA and there's this sexiness that we both love. I try to stay true to the essence of the Halston aesthetic while reinterpreting it for the woman of today.

The Halston series, offered by Netflix, is now bringing the brand to a wider audience.

The series has revitalized the brand by highlighting Halston's incredible influence on fashion, especially among today's younger generation who were unaware of it. We have seen a huge increase in the number of visitors to our Instagram account and website. We expect that to continue now that the capsule collection has hit the market.

The Netflix series reveals Roy Halston Frowick's creative process and extravaganza. Does your process have any similarities to his? Which?

Like Halston, I always surround myself with orchids. As for my process, I often refer to his previous work. I try to pay homage to Halston's designs while also modernizing them for today's woman. I also consult with Halston's model and muse Chris Royer. We talk and talk every Sunday about Halston, her inspiration and her personality. She's also my mentor, I interview her often and share sketches with her to hear her perspective on what Halston would think.

Halston, Jory Lee Cordy.

Halston is synonymous with glamor, which is particularly highlighted by the new Netflix series. What does glamor mean for Halston fashion house in 2021?

After more than a year of staying home, women are again ready to dress up and embrace the idea of glamor. At Halston, glamor is always designed in a minimalist, no-frills way. It's all about sexy silhouettes, bold colors and the use of signature materials like viscose jersey, lurex chiffon and the batik prints that Halston is known for.

This article was previously published on FashionUnited.fr. Translation and editing: Kelly Press