Not since the 1990s – and maybe not since the ’70s – has ’70s fashion been so hot: It’s everywhere for spring 2015.
So the Mint Museum Uptown’s new exhibition, “Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede,” stops in Charlotte at a fine time for style aficionados, as well as for those who just want to find out whether Roy Halston Frowick and Andy Warhol had more in common than the glitter of Studio 54. (Hint: They did.) The exhibition opens March 7 and puts 40 Halston creations together with Warhol paintings, photographs and videos.
Halston’s been called the first American design superstar, using minimalist lines in simple sportswear, bodysuits and dresses that became synonymous with American style, worn by a markedly diverse cast of models and celebrities.
Warhol dubbed Halston fashion shows “the art form of the ’70s.”
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Charlotte stylist Linda Martinez agrees on his impact: Women in the late ’60s were awash in the hippie phase, wearing prairie skirts, she says, and Halston “starts creating these beautiful, flowing garments that make women feel powerful and sexy. He had these looks that women wanted to associate themselves with. For work, he created the Ultrasuede shirt dress.
“But he also did glam Studio 54 looks and created clothes for the jet set.”
Martinez, who also works at Sloan boutique and made her first Halston purchase – a pair of D’Orsay heels – in the late ’70s, calls the decade one of the most influential in fashion. “It was the era that things started to flow and intermingle. Halston and Warhol were at the center of that.”
The Mint’s exhibition examines the two men’s friendship and influence on each other.
Although they achieved groundbreaking successes throughout their careers, they are most associated with the glamorous Studio 54 heyday of the late 1970s, when they reigned over New York City’s nightlife with friends Liza Minnelli, Bianca Jagger, Jerry Hall and others.
It was a time that Ingrid Sischy, an editor at Warhol’s Interview magazine, summed up in the forward to “Out,” a book of photos compiled by the magazine’s photographer, Bob Colacello. “It was a world where classifications and categories seemed to fall by the wayside,” she writes. “Where peace, not war, had become the brass ring. Where black and white, gay and straight, traditional society and new society, uptown and downtown, the powerful and the powerless, and young and old all danced under the same disco ball.”
Lesley Frowick, Halston’s niece, who works for National Geographic and is the author of the 2014 book “Halston: Inventing American Fashion,” will be in Charlotte March 8 for a lecture. Back in 1977, on Studio 54’s opening night, she entered what was to become the world’s most famous discotheque with her uncle.
But she’s quick to point out he “had shown his Midas touch way before the Studio 54 days.”
Among Halston’s remarkable contributions: the pillbox hat he designed for Jackie Kennedy (he began as a milliner); the luxurious but wearable clothes he designed that revolutionized haute couture; leading Americans to victory at the 1973 Battle of Versailles fashion show (it pitted teams of French and American designers); putting innovative materials such as Ultrasuede on the map; and being ahead of his time by licensing designs for sale at a decidedly-not-couture outlet – in his case, J.C. Penney.
“He was crucified for that,” said Frowick. “But what people need to know is that he wanted to dress American women and he wanted them to be in the latest styles.”
Frowick says Halston became friends with Warhol after buying some of his art. As she researched her book, she noted parallels. “They were both from small towns in the heartland of America, they both rose to the top of the heap in New York, they were innovators who broke new ground, and they understood the business side of their art.”
The Mint’s exhibition will either introduce you to, or remind you of, the look of the Halston/Warhol era – but CLT_Style wanted to offer you a local and modern take, too. We asked stylist Linda Martinez of Styled Now to give us a March 2015 version. Scott Clinton made the photos; he’s a commercial and editorial photographer based in New York City and Charlotte, whose clients range from Coach to Entertainment Weekly. More: www.scottclinton.com.
Get the look
Want to do the glamorous Halston look on your own? Stylist Linda Martinez offers these tips:
1. A long or short halter dress or one-shoulder dress in a flowing, silky fabric (skip anything structured).
2. Wear minimal jewelry.
3. Add strappy, ultra-feminine heels.
4. Hair should be long, luxurious and flowing (think Jerry Hall in her modeling heyday) or in lots of big curls (imagine 1970s supermodel Pat Cleveland) or a big afro.
If you’re leaning the more edgy Warhol way, think Edie Sedgwick:
1. Start with an item that has bold black and white stripes.
2. Jewelry should also be big or bold in resin or plastic.
3. For hair, it’s all about the pixie cut.
4. Shoes should have a block heel and a lot of patent leather (go-go boots epitomize the look).
Credits: Models are Camie Ragsdale (independent), Elisabeth Guptill (Evolution Modeling and Talent Agency) and Whitney Allsbrook (Marilyn's Model and Talent Management); hair and makeup by Scott Weaver. Apparel and jewelry from Boris & Natasha, Lotus, Sloan and Stash Pad.
See the silver and the suede
If you’re uptown Friday night, you may see a stream of glam guests entering the Mint Museum Uptown for a Studio 54 party, hosted by the Mint Museum Auxiliary. With a dress code of “Anything Goes at Studio 54,” there’s a lot of buzz about what partygoers will wear to the $125-per-ticket dance fest with decor inspired by the famous disco and Andy Warhol’s Factory.
“Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede” opens March 7 and runs through June 14 at the Mint Uptown. Tickets (including admission to rest of the museum): $24; $18 for college students and seniors, $6 for kids 5-17 (free for younger). 500 S. Tryon St.; 704-337-2000; www.mintmuseum.org.
“A Personal Journey” is a lecture at 3 p.m. March 8 by Lesley Frowick, Roy Halston Frowick’s niece. She’ll talk about his early influences and rise to fame, and the program will offer a short video documentary and book signing of her “Halston: Inventing American Fashion.” Free with exhibition admission.