her personal archives that haven’t been seen in decades. The exhibit is an unraveling of an extraordinary friendship that ignited and entranced a world of popular culture. “Both were renegades in their own fields, because they were breaking traditions at the same time,” says Lesley. “They came together at a time when social morals were changing. It was the perfect storm of societal changes. They were creating this mystique that everybody wanted to be a part of. They used to hang out at Halston’s midtown townhouse before heading to Studio 54, it was a supportive relationship. I think they were both in awe of each other and their amazing accomplishments and respected each other as artists.” Together they created the popularity of celebrity endorsement. Both were on the vanguard of self-promotion and would have embraced social media if not invented it.
Halston’s Heritage Interview with Lesley Frowick The Andy Warhol Museum Celebrates their 20th Anniversary with “Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede” exhibit. By Sarah Lolley
In the 70s, when boundaries were being blurred and art was taking to the streets, fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick and artist Andy Warhol began a friendship that defined American glamour. For Halston, women of every shape could easily wear his designs with ease and elegance, preferably without a bra. He was of the first designers to pin an elegant drape epitomizing luxurious comfort, and Andy Warhol was the first to manufacture celebrity and everyday objects as art. Currently, the pair is being celebrated as part of The Andy Warhol Museum’s 20th Anniversary Celebration in the exhibit Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede opening May 20 at midnight. Originating from the archives of both families, the articles reveal an intimate depiction of the icons alongside the museum’s contributions. Halston’s niece, Lesley Frowick, is the co-curator and primary Halston donator, who teamed with Warhol Director, Eric Shiner, share 66
“They both had a similar vision and they were great promoters of themselves,” says Lesley. “They knew how to cross-promote before there were cross-promotions. I remember when Andy would come over to the house, which was often, and he would have in one hand his Olympus camera because he was always taking pictures, and the other hand would have Interview Magazines. He always had some sort of product.” Warhol was mass producing Pop Art silk screens and Halston was bringing American Glamour to the masses. “While Halston was mass producing through JCPenny, which was a very short-lived experience, Warhol was creating his serigraphs and producing multiple variations of a theme.” Both men received criticism from the art and fashion world for their vision. However, they represented the future. “Halston designed for the American woman’s changing lifestyle back in the day,” says Lesley. “He would take a classic item and make it with luxurious fabric in an amazing innovative design, then alter it into a million different silhouettes.” Halston began as a milliner, replicating Parisian fashion until he struck out, turning fashion on its head inventing the shirtdress in a new fabric called ultra-suede produced by Toray Industries in Japan. His brand of Grecian gowns, kaftans, and jersey jumpsuits still define comfortable chic today. Who can forget how Sex in the City brought back Halston’s willowy silhouettes? “Most of his clothing was really sensuous; he designed to accentuate the female form. It was a time also when women’s libbers were throwing their bras out the windows,”
explains Lesley who also says that she heard from a good source that Halston would simply not allow a bra to be worn by his client during custom-fittings. However, like Warhol, Halston was a man who valued family, never forgetting his Midwestern roots in Iowa. Warhol would come over for Thanksgiving dinner when Halston cooked turkey dinner. Halston even arranged for Warhol to accompany his niece Lesley to one of Liza Minneli’s opening nights. “We had front row seats and it was spectacular, but I kept wondering what am I going to talk to him about?” recalls Lesley. “There was a lot of ‘golly gee’ from him that night, but he was always a really nice, thoughtful man.” Like Warhol, Halston was keen on sending his family members his new designs. Lesley’s favorite piece given to her mother was a red silk Grecian style piece. Her other favorites will be in the exhibit – the show-stopping beaded gowns. In Halston’s last year at the company he founded, Lesley worked closely with him, attending fashion shoots and receiving pointers from some of fashion’s pillars. She reflected the inspiration in her own photography. Sometimes the pair sought refuge in Montauk hiking around Halston’s property while staying in the house he rented from Warhol. One time Halston commissioned Warhol to create an art piece for his 25x15 feet townhouse wall while he was away. When he returned Warhol had installed a blank canvas, which Halston mistook as a statement. It was not until after Warhol’s death did they finally remove it and discover a surprise. However, Lesley will not tell us what it was. She is unearthing that intimate mystery in her book on Halston to be released October 2014. Until then we get to parade through the halls of memories at the friendship that framed a fever of fame. For more info on events and the exhibit go to www.warhol.org 67