Netflix series on fashion designer Halston ‘overinflated’, family says

The family of the fashion designer Halston have called a forthcoming Netflix series based on his life “overinflated” and “sensational”.

The television series, based on the book Simply Halston by Steven Gaines and executive-produced by Ryan Murphy, who made American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace, is set to be released on Friday.

But it has run into trouble from some members of the Halston family.

“As a custodian of the archives, I was not consulted in any way,” said Lesley Frowick, the designer’s niece and the founder and director of the Halston Personal Archives. “[I] was unaware [of the show] until the project was near completion and the promotional activity started.”

Halston – known mononymously rather than his birth name of Roy Halston Frowick – was a designer who peaked in the 1970s and whose clothes were a feature of the Studio 54 set. He was known for slinky, minimalist dresses embraced by a generation of women who wanted to celebrate their bodies in the wake of the 1960s.

Since his death in 1990, aged 57 from complications from Aids, his family has looked after his legacy. “He was a kind, generous man, and he was a family man. He was a good person,” said Frowick. “He was visionary about the fashion business.”

Earlier this week, in a statement released by the Archives, Frowick said the coming Netflix show was inaccurate, though he did not give specifics.

“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,” she said.

Frowick added: “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.

“In actuality, our uncle Halston was a very private, dignified gentleman, and it is my hope that he will be remembered and respected as such.”

Frowick said she was also skeptical about the casting of Ewan McGregor as her uncle. “While I appreciate his talents as an actor, it’s practically impossible to duplicate the authentic grace, beauty and sophistication that Halston embodied so effortlessly,” she said.

Frowick said a 2019 documentary about her uncle called Halston offers a much more accurate portrait. “[It] should be considered the comprehensive record of his story,” she said. “I consulted heavily on it with the film-maker Frederic Tcheng and lent a lot of historical pieces Halston entrusted me with in order for it to be his voice and his own life experience coming through.”

Netflix declined to comment.