Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Halston Residence Fetes Charles James

 The release of Charles James: Portrait of Unreasonable Man: Fame, Fashion, Art, the new, definitive biography by Michèle Gerber Klein, was celebrated at Halston’s former townhouse designed by the great mid-century architect Paul Rudolf.

The relationship between Charles James and Halston was long, complicated and fascinating.  The two designers met in 1958 through Page Zwecker, fashion editor of the Chicago Daily News.  James, at the height of his career, became a mentor to Halston, whose career had just begun.  Halston soon moved to New York to design hats for Lilly Dache, after meeting her through James.  
"Halston learned a great deal from Charles about designing and the world of style and probably other things too"- Dache recalled.

In 1970, after James' career had declined, Halston hired him as a "fashion consultant engineer" for the Halston collections.  Despite the collaboration receiving a glowing review from critics like Bernadine Morris of the The NY Times, Halston decided to part ways with James.  

In the ensuing years of Halston's rise to fortune and vast fame, James obsessively made of lists of designs Halston had stolen from him, and described Halston to Couri Hay in tapes filmed by Anton Perish as “a middle of the road man who would be better as a buyer in a store or a stylist. He knows how to select good things, but his passion has been to put his name on it - the word plagiarism is correct.” 
 The evening was a sincere eye opening experience into the deep realms of the fashion world.  

The impressive guest list included names like Harold Koda who wrote the book’s forward, as well as James Andrew, Paula Antonelli, Susan Lowrey, Steven M.L. Aronson, and Evelyn Lorentzen Bell to name a few.  

 Guests reminisced about past experiences in the house from years before.  Everyone marveled at the Paul Rudolph's famous staircases and the fire place into which Elas Peretti famously, (in a fit of pique) flung the fur coat Halston gave her.  The house was decorated with elegant white orchids, a Halston trade mark he assumed from Charles James.

Charles James: Portrait of Unreasonable Man: Fame, Fashion, Art is available at: Barnesandnoble.com

Photos courtesy of PR

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