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Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston


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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Product Description

A fascinating portrait of the rise and fall of America's first celebrity designer: Halston, the man who was synonymous with fashion in the 1970s, and became the emperor of New York City nightlife. Interviews with friends and witnesses (including Liza Minnelli, Diane Von Furstenberg, André Leon Talley, Anjelica Huston, Bob Colacello, and Billy Joel, among others) round out this glittering evocation of the man who defined the most beautiful and decadent era of recent memory.

Special Features

  • An Interview with Director Whitney Sudler-Smith and Producer Adam Bardach, presented by American Express
  • Deleted Scene: GQ Interview

Review

Moving. --Vogue

Must-see film --Fashion Week Daily

This film has a grander trajectory than just about any other fashion doc. --Entertainment Weekly

Product Details

  • Actors: Halston, Billy Joel, Liza Minnelli, Diane Von Furstenberg, André Leon Talley
  • Directors: Whitney Sudler-Smith
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Tribeca
  • DVD Release Date: May 29, 2012
  • Run Time: 89 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006QVRV1I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,284 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By History Lover on June 9, 2012
Format: DVD
I gave up watching this poorly edited, poorly researched documentary after 10 minutes. I have no idea why Whitney Smith was so interested in Halston; his mother thinks is because he loved to watch Smokey and the Bear. WHAT??? Like the 10 minutes of this film I could stand, that was bewildering and off-putting.

Smith interviews Liza Minelli and tells her she was Halston's only friend at the time he died; she corrects him, and says that Liz Taylor, among others was there. She says she gave Halston his memorial service; Smith asks her what she sang; Liza replies that she didn't sing because the event was about Halston, not her. Couldn't Smith have looked up any newspaper clippings of the event?

He finds Halston's archives in boxes, unpacked at a Bible university in Nashville. Georgette Mosbacher, the head of Halston/Borghese, says her mother lives in Nashville, which is why I'm assuming the archives went there; she can deduct the cost of seeing her mother as a business expense to 'check on the archives'. Smith remarks that he has seen the archives, but doesn't ask why nothing has been done with them. No displays, the boxes were basically thrown in a room. Mosbacher obviously doesn't know or care what is being done to preserve the archives, and Smith isn't interested in enlightening her. Why?

Smith has lunch with Andre Leon Talley, and, again, hasn't done his research. He asks ALT who else he should interview! He also interrupts ALT, but is put in his place. Also, the racist anthem 'Dixie' is Smith's ring tone, and he has the Confederate flag on his license plate. I'm sure it's just a Southern Pride thing, right?

I had to turn off the movie when Smith wears aviator sunglasses, inside, to interview Ralph Rucci.

Please let someone else make a documentary of quality about Halston! This one surely cannot be the last word.
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Format: DVD
There is no denying that the designer known simply as Halston (actually Roy Halston Frowick) led a life of drama, excess, and glamour worthy of remembrance. After climbing to stunning heights, he ruled the fashion scene of the seventies before a precipitous career plunge brought him back to earth with a crash. It's an incredible story, to be sure, and one that is well told in the documentary "Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston." Based on an incredible life story and career, it is almost impossible not to recommend this glimpse back at an icon. His tale is related through interviews, archival footage, and really recaptures the allure of the man and his legend. I am no fashionista and had no particular previous interest in Halston, but I was captivated by the world that "Ultrasuede" transported me to. And so, it is an easy recommendation.

That being said, though, the picture was made by Whitney Sudler-Smith. Instead of structuring a more conventional documentary, Sudler-Smith inserts himself into the narrative arc. He is front and center throughout, and this sometimes adds an awkwardness that is slightly off-putting. When introducing himself, he says he has an interest in Halston and the seventies. He has no particular personal connection to the project other than this interest, so it seems odd for him to be a central character in the piece. Oftentimes, his interviews seem poorly researched and amateurish. Several celebrities call him on this lack of professionalism, some are amused by it. Ultimately, I warmed to him but found him somewhat distracting at the start. And in the film's last third, he loses track of Halston for a large stretch of the movie because he wants to talk about Studio 54 (much beyond Halston's attendance).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By jwveneto on January 3, 2014
Format: DVD
Having worked with Halston in the 80s, I have to agree with the review by History Lover. This was a shallow and ill researched film which featured more of Whitney Smiths vapid egotism than the accomplishments of Halston himself. Despite his tragic fall from grace and demise, his accomplisments in his lifetime were many. He was a pioneer in fashion, in business, in licensing, worked to create a distinctive "American" look, and put American fashion front and center on the world stage. He supported the great choreographer Martha Graham and her company both personally and finacially till the end of his life. The enormous pressures of creating an maintaining an empire and a lifestyle that sought to relieve these pressures took a great toll. His life and accomplishments however, are deserving of a more thorough examination and presentation. Perhaps Mr Smith would have done better to do a documentary about Smokey the Bear.
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Having worked with Halston in the 80s, I have to agree with the review by History Lover. This was a shallow and ill researched film which featured more of Whitney Smith's vapid egotism than the accomplishments of Halston himself. Despite his tragic fall from grace and demise, his accomplisments in his lifetime were many. He was a pioneer in fashion, in business, in licensing, worked to create a distinctive "American" look, and put American fashion front and center on the world stage. He supported the great choreographer Martha Graham and her company both personally and finacially till the end of his life.
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