Podtalk: Filmmaker Frédéric Tceng on the Legacy of ‘Halston’

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CHICAGO – Before there was Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney, Tom Ford or even Miranda Priestly, there was “Halston.” Roy Halston Frowley was known only by that single name, and wore the celebrity fashion designer crown of the 1960s and ‘70s. Filmmaker Frédéric Tceng brings the icon back to life in “Halston.”

The documentary chronicles the rise and precipitous fall of the House of Halston, as his work-hard-play-hard philosophy was eventually his undoing. But it is a fascinating story, involving mysterious origins in Des Moines, Iowa, to the top of the fashion chain in New York City. Halston began as a hat maker, and when Jackie Kennedy wore his designer chapeaus around her husband’s presidency, his legacy was assured. He built his empire from there, partnering with an American corporation who took him to new heights. But everything that rises must converge, and Halston ran afoul of the very business community that financed him. Director Tceng uses the device of a fictional narrator to tell Halston’s story, and the result is a vivid portrait of a legendary force.

The Title Icon in “Halston,” directed by Frédéric Tceng
Photo credit: The Orchard

Frédéric Tcheng is a French-born filmmaker. Focusing on documentary, he co-produced and co-edited his first major film, “Valentino: The Last Emperor” (2009), which was shortlisted for the Best Documentary Oscar. He next focused on fashion icons, and was the co-director of “Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel” (2011), about the legendary magazine editor and influencer. He made his solo directorial debut with “Dior and I” (2014), which premiered at the Tribeca film festival. “Halston” is his third feature as director.

In Part One of a Podtalk with Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com, director Frédéric Tcheng talks about the legacy of Halston, and his association with pop artist Andy Warhol.

In Part Two, Tcheng reflects on Halston’s partner, Victor Hugo, and his use of a fictional narrator to tell the story.

“Halston” opens in Chicagoland on June 7th, part of a nationwide limited release, at at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 North Southport in Chicago, and The Wilmette Theatre, 1122 Central Avenue, Wilmette, Illinois. See local listings for other theaters and show times. Written and directed by Frédéric Tcheng. Not Rated.

HollywoodChicago.com senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor and Film Writer

© 2019 Patrick McDonald, HollywoodChicago.com

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