Netflix's take on the life of the legendary designer and master couturier drew mixed reactions. But after a well-rounded ending, will the series still return?
'Halston,' the Netflix miniseries about the life of the legendary fashion designer, drew both criticisms and praises.
Starring Ewan McGregor as the titular designer, Halston tells the story of how a young man with extreme talent and potential managed to build an entire empire from scratch. Halston's famous clients included actresses like Liza Minelli, who is also a character in the show, played by Krysta Rodriguez. It also stars Rebecca Dayan as Elsa Peretti, David Pittu as Joe Eula, and Bill Pullman as David J. Mahoney.
The five-episode miniseries depicted his painful childhood, his rise to fame, his massive success, and eventually, his fall down.
The miniseries was adapted from the 1991 book 'Simply Halston' by Steven Gaines. It premiered on the platform on May 5, 2021, and needless to say, it was a burst of style, emotions, sex, and drugs. It's vivid and over-the-top.
Ryan Murphy, the brilliant mind behind the dark, long-running series 'American Horror Story,' created the show as part of his $300 Million deal with Netflix.
Halston could be a great source of entertainment. With only five episodes, it's binge-watchable within one sitting. Ewan McGregor delivered an impressive performance in portraying the legendary designer, and the rest of the characters breathed equal life to the show.
However, the Netflix series should only be treated simply as a source of entertainment. The Netflix series is not so reliable in terms of accuracy. The niece and the founder and director of the Halston Personal Archives, Lesley Frowick, has clarified that she was not aware of the project until it was almost completed.
"As a custodian of the archives, I was not consulted in any way,” Frowick said in a statement. “[I] was unaware [of the show] until the project was near completion and the promotional activity started.”
Frowick emphasized that the 2019 documentary by Frédéric Tcheng, also called 'Halston,' must be “considered the comprehensive record” of the iconic designer's life.
“These people who didn’t know him well, perhaps because they were mere children during the Halston apogee, often like to focus on the most sensational parts of the story,” Frowick said regarding the Netflix series. “Those details tend to be overinflated rather than placing the rightful emphasis on his incredible gift as an artist, the depth of his contribution to American fashion, his work ethic, and his success as one of the first true American fashion influencers.
Just like the 'Queen's Gambit,' Halston is originally billed as a limited series. This means that the show is conceived with only one season in mind. Therefore, as much as fans enjoyed the series, 'Halston' will no longer return for season 2. There is nothing left to come back to anymore in terms of the plot. The series-ending has already wrapped up the story neatly, covering up to Halston's final moments.
The Netflix series ended in a poignant and peaceful scene.
In the episode finale, Halston was given the chance to redeem his honor after successfully designing the costumes of Perséphone in 1987. This particular scene evokes so many emotions because it brings back memories of Halston's early life as a rising designer. After losing his name and personal brand in a corporate deal, Halston has lost everything he has, except his pure talent in designing. After years and years of getting lambasted by critics, Halston finally earned their praises for such passionate work.
Looking at it differently, AIDS might have been among the most significant things that happened to Halston. It stripped him of his ego and allowed him to appreciate the very few people who truly mattered and helped him achieve his dreams. It allowed him to simply look at his surroundings and relish their beauty without having to think of another breakthrough idea that would bring him more money. After a tumultuous life amplified by fame, success, abusive relationships, and drug addiction, Halston finally finds peace.
Halston spent the last few months of his life driving up the pacific coast before dying in San Francisco in 1990. In reality, Halston died in 1990 after one and a half years of battle with AIDS and AIDS-related lung cancer called Kaposi sarcoma.
The series ended so beautifully, it will be anticlimatic to haul it out for another season.