NETLIX, RYAN MURPHY PRODUCTIONS AND HALSTON ARE NOT THE HEAVENLY COMBINATION WE WERE HOPING FOR

Halston

Available for streaming within a few days of each other, the twin births of the latest “Netflix” babies “The Woman in the Window” (movie, also released in selected theaters – see my separate post) and the first episode of “Halston” (miniseries staring Ewan McGregor courtesy of Ryan Murphy Productions) complement each other in that they are both unapologetically bad but in different ways. While “Woman” is the perfect example of a guilty pleasure that you enjoy all the way through, getting high on its unintended campiness, “Halston”, (episode one) is a complete dud with a shocking lack of, well, style (and camp!). It is lackluster and lazy with a script that coasts on cliches and platitudes. A major problem for the production is that Mr. H. like his French contemporary Yves Saint Laurent, was an enigma and, like the two competing French biopics of Laurent, released in France in 2015, “Halson” has no soul, no center. You almost pity McGregor who, at least in episode one, is forced to either 1) throw a temper tantrum 2) proclaim to the world that he is H-A-L-S-T-O-N or 3) meet with his current lover so he (that is we) can be updated of what is happening in American fashion as we are catapulted from the late fifties to the early seventies. There is the occasional moment that makes you sit up and take interest: Halston started out as a milliner, first in Chicago and then in New York. In a flashback we see him as a lonely child (he actually had a lot a siblings) making hats for his unhappy mama. His first big break came when he designed Jackie Kennedy’s famous pillbox to go with Oleg Cassini’s outfits. Then there is that otherworldly voice which McGregor actually comes close to catching. And in the largely lackluster supporting cast there are two small exceptions; Krysta Rodriguez who plays Halson’s muse Liza Minnelli does a nice job performing “Say Liza (Liza with Z)” and Rory Culkin does something, although I am not quite sure what exactly, with one of Halston’s first major collaborators, Joel Schumacher – yes, the soon to be director Joel (“Saint Elmo’s Fire”) Schumacher. There are still four episodes to go and the series, which is directed by Daniel Minahan (“Deadwood”, “Six Feet Under”), may well improve. However, I did sneak peek the first few minutes of episode two. It seems we are all off to Versailles for the fashion show battle of the century and no, it does not get better. It gets worse!

“Halston” is available for streaming on Netflix”.

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