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Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston (2010)

Halston , Billy Joel , Whitney Sudler-Smith  |  NR |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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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: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B006QVRV1I
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,928 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


Moving. --Vogue

Must-see film --Fashion Week Daily

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

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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By the time I was old enough to know the name 'Halston', he was already in free fall. However, I could see the respect that the fashion world had for him. This documentary let me know why.

Halston was both an artist and a patriot. He tirelessly promoted American fashion, playing a pivotal role in putting US design on the European map. Halston traveled to China when it was as difficult to travel there as it is to North Korea today. He designed for the US Olympic team, and he dressed Jackie Kennedy on inauguration day.

Halston's achievements are impressive, and the different perspectives of the people interviewed for the documentary create a picture of a complex and fascinating individual. Although he made the crucial error of not protecting the prestige of his brand, this was a bad business decision. His artistic vision was genius. Most of all, he was a true innovator in a field where everyone else is just copying.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the hype March 19, 2013
By Terri
I really liked this video, but even though it was fun (you get a sense of what a unique time the 70's were,) I think that most of all I loved the vintage footage and the interviews, very informative. You will probably come away from this documentary wanting to know more about Halston but, I do get the impression that Halston may not have been that easy to know and that his uber simplistic designs of many hits (and quite a few misses in my opinion) makes it easy for him to be taken for granted as well as his talent and his style and his rise to fame. The one thing that I did get from this documentary is why he was famous, I think he was famous because he absolutely believed in everything he did, and it seems to me everything had to be completely luxurious, as far as bringing simplistic luxury to the masses I think it was a big miss calculation Halston's people wanted a peice of the dreamn not the poor persons version of it. He would have been better off doubling the price of his perfume (affordable luxury, like expensive lipstick) and leaving the clothes to the people with money. In the end I think he just took himself a little too seriously. Keep it real and don't believe the hype especially if it's your own.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars More Halston, less director June 9, 2012
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Halton
Fun and sometimes Camp documentary. Gives us a peek into the crazy world that was Halston's. Great vintage footage and provocative interviews.
Published 14 days ago by MisterMike
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe I'm shallow TOO!
Personally, I got just enough information about Halston to keep it interesting... and I thought the shallowness of the documentary's style was a sublime nod to the shallowness of... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Klutch
1.0 out of 5 stars Halston deserves a better film
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... Read more
Published 6 months ago by jwveneto
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see for Halston fans....but
I could not wait to see "Ultrasuede", but some things drove me crazy about it! First of all it was more about Whitney-Sudler Smith and his suits, his sunglasses, his (I must say... Read more
Published 19 months ago by A. Rucker
5.0 out of 5 stars The Back Story Behind the Headlines.......
If you are of the generation who remembers Halston as the most talked about fashion designer to the stars then this documentary will fill in the back story many of us didn't know. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Donna S. Webb
5.0 out of 5 stars GeorgeMurleyUltraSuede
Outstanding! Awesome! A definite must buy for any fashionista who serious about their fashion video library and is worth it!
Published 19 months ago by George Murley
1.0 out of 5 stars "In Search of Halston"...Keep Searching
I found great reproach within the 89 minutes of this documentary. Generally there was fault with the way the information was presented, with almost no research on the subject, the... Read more
Published 23 months ago by Haute Literati
4.0 out of 5 stars Halston was a genius
I watched this on demand on Amazon and then purchased it because I love anything about fashion design and designers. Read more
Published 24 months ago by passionatereader
1.0 out of 5 stars Ultrasuede is Ultrabad
"Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston" is Ultrabad.

Director Whitney Sudler-Smith has created an unfocused, uninformed, and uninspired film purportedly about Halston. Read more
Published on June 26, 2012 by eLibrary Staff
5.0 out of 5 stars Fashion at it's Best!
I thought the documentary was great! I enjoyed every minute of it. Being someone who loves all things fashion, this was a trip down memory lane to the 70's, when Halston ruled... Read more
Published on June 18, 2012 by steve
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