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Hi.

My name is Gary Zidek. Welcome to The Arts Section. Tune into the radio program every Sunday morning on WDCB 90.9 & 90.7 FM or listen to it online here. I'll be showcasing a variety of arts & entertainment, as well as.highlighting some creative ideas.

Review: Documentary Sheds Light On Rise and Fall of Halston

Review: Documentary Sheds Light On Rise and Fall of Halston

WDCB’s Gary Zidek reviews the new documentary, HALSTON.

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The fashion world has proved to be fertile ground for documentary material in recent years. It makes complete sense, the clothes, models and extravagance of the fashion world provide tremendous visuals.  Add to that the inherent drama that exists within an industry that’s filled with creative geniuses and beautiful people, and you have a recipe for a compelling film.

 The story of American designer Halston has provided the source material for not one … but two documentaries in the past nine years. 2010’s ULTRASUEDE: IN SEARCH OF HALSTON might be one of the worst documentaries I’ve ever seen. The director was more concerned about injecting himself into the film that putting together something that made sense.

 So, it’s understandable that another filmmaker would want to explore the Halston story. Frederic Tcheng is the director of the new documentary simply titled HALSTON.

Halston and his bestie Liza Minnelli

Halston and his bestie Liza Minnelli

As interesting as Halston’s rise to the top of ultra competitive fashion world is, it’s really his fall from grace that captured my attention.  

In 1973, Halston sells his empire to Norton Simon Inc. Making him the first designer to have his trademarks purchased by a corporation. The deal allowed him to remain in charge of all things creative and provided him with massive financial backing, but he no longer owned his most valuable asset - the Halston name.

The collision of creativity and commerce is fascinating to me. Halston’s story has to be one of the great real life cautionary tales of the dangers of ambition.

Cheng does a great job melding archival footage with contemporary interviews. But for some reason, he decided to incorporate a strange framing device, that involves a fictional archivist sifting through old VHS tapes featuring Halston. The cuts away from the interviews and archival footage to this fake archivist looking pensively at old videos is distracting. It really doesn’t add anything to documentary.

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Gary gives HALSTON 2.5 stars out 4 stars.

The documentary opens in select theaters on June 6th.

Click here for info on where it’s playing.

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