Describe H Halston in three words.
Effortless, elegance, forever.
What are your favourite looks for the holiday season?
I love all of the metallics, which play into the historic DNA of Halston. We’ve got great body-skinning dresses with very clean lines, in metallic shades like silver and platinum. I always like to encourage women not to think of holiday dressing as just one season. You can wear that little metallic dress under a black blazer. We also have a great caped black blazer that makes your look a little bit hipper when you wear it over a silver dress and change up your accessories.
What are your favourite colours these days?
We do a lot of neutrals, especially the peach tones. It’s a type of color that just looks good on everyone’s skin tone, especially if you wear the right makeup. In over twenty years, I’ve worked with so many actresses and models, and I’ll never forget Amber Valletta trying on a puce yellow Galanos dress for the Met Gala. It’s the last thing you’d expect a blond, pale woman to wear, but she’s like, “Oh, no, my makeup is going to be great.” The picture of her in that dress has been running like crazy since Mr. Galanos passed away, and it proves that if you choose the right makeup, you can really wear any colour.
You’re known for saying, “I’d rather be dressed up than dressed down.” Why is that?
It’s something I will never forget. My mom was going to a big gala in 1979 or 1980 and went feeling completely underdressed. She said, “I never want to be dressed down,” and I always remember that, because she was so down on herself. I think it’s just better to put in a little effort — and when I say effort, it can be effortless effort. The moments when you’re in leggings are probably the moments you’ll run into Mr. or Mrs. Right. It’s always better to dress up, and dressing up doesn’t have to be complicated. Dressing up can mean jeans, a great t-shirt and a leather jacket. That’s exactly what H Halston is about. We’re not doing all gowns — we’re doing day to evening wear that’s comfortable. Everyone wants to be comfortable these days, so the fabrics we choose are soft but luxurious, and at a price that’s still approachable.
Aside from your role as fashion director for H Halston and H by Halston, you also run the vintage couture boutique Decades in Los Angeles. Any advice when it comes to shopping for vintage clothes?
Do not get seduced by a label. I think that is one of the most dangerous things when it comes to vintage. You pick up something and say, “But this is Yves St. Laurent.” Well, it doesn’t mean it’s good. Quality is paramount. Just because it has the designer label and it’s a great design, if it’s full of mothballs or stained beyond recognition, not every garment can be saved by a facelift.
Would you say alterations are needed more often than not?
I’ve always said that your tailor is more important than your shrink. So, minor alterations should be part of your shopping experience. I always say that women should shop more like men, because when a man buys a suit, he gets everything tailored, but often, when a woman buys a jacket, she just rolls up the sleeves. That being said, it’s about quality and good design, especially if want to wear vintage that doesn’t look like a Halloween costume. I always look at a vintage garment ask myself: Does this look modern? So, choose your vintage carefully, and find pieces that have a contemporary streak, that are well made and in good condition. If they have a great designer label, more power to you, but make sure it’s tailored to your body, so it’s a win-win. I get so annoyed when people don’t buy pieces that fit them perfectly off the rack. I’m like, “Come on, just buy it!”
You’ve worked with countless celebrities over the years. Who are some of your most memorable star clients?
We did Kristen Davis’ entire Sex and the City 2 wardrobe for all of her premieres, and that was so much fun, because she kicked style butt.
Which celebs are killing it on the red carpet lately?
I love Zendaya. She’s young, she’s interesting and her style is very intelligent. Another client of ours who I love is Amal Clooney. Amal has this incredible, narrow carriage for clothes, and she’s not afraid to wear something vintage. She shops very much the way a modern woman would shop. She’s not wearing couture all the time, but she’s not afraid to wear something from the back of the closet.
What’s the trick to pulling off any look?
It’s completely internal and all about posture. You can wear the most beautiful gown, but if you don’t stand straight, it means nothing. It’s one of the reasons why, when someone comes into the store to try something on, I say, “Stand up straight and look at how good you look!” Posture is an elemental part of style, and it’s something you have complete control over.
Who are your style icons?
I certainly think about the Halston-ettes of yesteryear: Bianca Jagger, Grace Kelly, Jacqueline Kennedy. I also look to the women I know. I was in Wichita, Kansas, about a month ago, and I attended a really lovely lunch full of women who inspired me. So, I think every woman is potentially inspiring.
What’s your favourite way to shop?
I just like to shop, period. So, I go everywhere. Today, I’m happy to be among bricks and mortar, and I bought a few things at Hudson’s Bay. I love the experience, and it’s cool to be around people — we need that. Then again, last night I was browsing online. I do shop with a lot of people who are clients and friends, but I tend to get a little self-conscious about buying things in front of people, so sometimes I prefer to shop alone for myself, but I enjoy helping someone shop. I think to have an objective eye is really useful.
What are five things that always make you happy?
Coffee in the morning, green juice at lunch, fresh, crisp air in the afternoon, dinner with friends and family, and my bed at night.
To shop the H Halston collection, visit Hudson’s Bay and thebay.com.