The Smell Of Success
Episode 3 of Halston begins a year later, in 1974. Halston finds himself back with the team intricately designing a bottle for his perfume.
Unfortunately the design doesn’t sit well with the shareholders, including David who reminds him that this is an automated process. However, Halston decides to pay his way out of trouble. He storms out the office as things simmer and grow more tense.
We then cut back a month to see how this mess transpired. Halston and David sit together, with the latter determined to set up the Halston name by making him design a new perfume. Of course, Halston’s professional life is mirrored by his personal too, as everything starts to change and unravel.
Liza is getting married to her boyfriend Jack which turns his attention toward Elsa for comfort. In doing so, this causes his relationship with Victor to fall apart. That is, until Victor takes charge and demands that he go to the wedding with him on his arm.
With the perfume production in full swing, an arrogant Halston shows up to see the perfumer, Adele. He refuses to put his cigarette out to mask the smell but she’s surprisingly nonchalant about his attitude.
Instead, he’s given some homework to try and help the fragrance going forward. That includes three words to sum up his past – spring, grass and daffodils.
Unfortunately smelling this brings back bad memories from his childhood as he starts sobbing. Even worse, he ends up having a fight with Victor back home, which almost sees the man leave. Halston breaks down and sobs though, pleading with him not to go.
At work, things go from bad to worse with the perfume. He doesn’t like any of the ideas for the bottle but does manage to bring together some intriguing smells from his past to make a really enticing fragrance.
This catches us up with the moments from the opening shot of the episode, as Halston’s perfume sells out. How? The bottle. That unique bottle shape is what’s caused it to fly off the shelves.
It’s not only exceeded expectations, it’s made Halston a household name. To celebrate, Victor invites his lover along to the opening of Studio 54.
Only, Ed suddenly barges in and sits with Halston, making him choose between him or Victor. Without skipping a beat, Halston chooses Victor, and arrives at Studio 54 after snorting some drugs in the car on the way there.
The Episode Review
Episode 3 continues the trend of seeing Halston’s ascent to the top as he finally makes it thanks to the perfume release. His gamble with the bottle shape absolutely pays off and it reinforces the obliviousness of big businessmen like David when it comes to creativity and ingenuity.
The series does an excellent job showcasing the surface level material, hitting all the usual parts of this story. However, you can also tell things are about to take a nasty downward turn.
At times, the character plays out a little bit too caricature, with emotional outbursts never backed up with some meaningful depth. Scenes like Halston breaking down sobbing are cut short, never allowed the time to really breathe and spend time swimming in this trauma.
Still, if you’re unfamiliar with the character this is a good introduction.