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RETRO-SPECTIVE: HOUSEWIFE FASHION

1970s Fashion Designer Halston

Rich women dress simply, says designer for America's in-crowd

NEW YORK (AP) - The designer who made classics out of sweater sets, chiffon caftans and matte jersey halter dresses declares: "I dress the who's who of the fashion world."

Who is he? Why Roy H. Frolich, naturally.

Well, perhaps he's better known as Halston. That's what he's called by customers like Jacqueline Onassis, Betty Ford, Lauren Bacall and Liza Minnelli.

Hardly anyone one disputes that Halston is the hottest American designer going. He's even giving St. Laurent, Paris' current Numero Uno, a run for his money.

How does he explain his success?

"The affluent American woman of taste all my clients wants to dress simply," he says matter-of-factly. "I cleaned up American fashion, made it more simple, and understandable."

In seven years, Halston has moved from top hat designer at Bergdorf's to the king of an empire called Halston Enterprises which now markets perfume, men's wear, luggage, furs, wigs and soon, the official uniforms for the US. Olympic Team.

Sales from products with the chic Halston label are expected to be $60 million this coming year.

"I've always been a success," sighs Halston, slipping his silver lens sun glasses down on his nose. "From the moment I started I had 10 times the amount of fame and fortune I ever wanted."

Halston, 43 and male fashion model, talks in an Eastern lockjaw accent no one ever heard in his native Indiana and is proud to the point of arrogance about his talent and status. But he's careful to confer a little credit to the celebrated women who wouldn't dare appear in public without his sweater dresses, ultrasuede pants suits and slinky jerseys.

"It's the client that makes fashion. The designer only suggests. Then, what is picked up by the fashionable women makes the influence," Halston patiently explained while sitting behind his huge desk in a barren office with mirrors for wallpaper.

"Rich women don't want to look rich. It's bad taste to be too high style or overdressed in the day time. My clothes help a woman to blend in with what is happening in the world."

Unlike some designers who hob nob with the socialites they dress, Halston says he prefers to stay away from the party scene (although his photo appears constantly in Women's Wear Daily, chronicler of jetset party crowd.)

"I'm not going to provide an escort service for some client " said an incensed Halston when asked if he was ever invited as the "extra man" at dinners "I don't have the time for socializing."

Source: Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune, July 30th, 1975 - Newspaperarchive.com

 

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