Woman's Ultrasuede Dress by Halston

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Clothing and Dress


Woman's Ultrasuede Dress by Halston




Roy Halston Frowick (1932-1990) began his design career as a free-lance milliner in Chicago in the early 1950s. During this time he adopted the use of his middle name as a designer. At the end of the decade he moved to New York City and worked briefly for Lilly Dache before becoming a milliner and clothing designer for Bergdorf Goodman. In 1961 he designed the pillbox hat worn by Jackie Kennedy for the inauguration of her husband, John F. Kennedy. This single hat cemented his career as a designer, first of fashionable headwear and then, as hats were going out of style, as a clothing designer.

Halston began Halston Limited in 1968, opening a boutique on Madison Avenue in New York. In 1969 he launched his first ready-to-wear clothing line; thereafter, he was working on both ready-to-wear and made-to-order fashions. In 1972 he produced this ultrasuede dress; it immediately became a classic, best-selling design.

The "Battle of Versailles" Fashion Show, held in November 1973 to raise money for the restoration of the palace, pitted French against American designers in a fashion show contrasting the established couture houses of Paris with the young, upstart designers from New York, including Halston. The Americans "won" with their fresh, youthful designs exemplified by Halston. Halston's garments are characterized by clean lines with no frills, shapes that compliment a woman's form, and elements that a woman can make her own, such as sleeves that can be rolled up, front button closures, and collars that can be turned up or down.

Halston remains one of the premier group of designers brought American fashion design to international attention. He was at his best in the 1970s. In an effort to expand his business, he sold the rights to his name which resulted in a profusion of licensing arrangements that diluted Halston as a brand. He died of AIDS in 1990.


Donor: Linda Welters


URI 2006.23.03




Halston, “Woman's Ultrasuede Dress by Halston,” Historic Textile and Costume Collection, accessed March 27, 2023, https://uritextilecollection.omeka.net/items/show/478.

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