Episode 5 of Halston begins with our troubled fashion designer in 1984, snorting coke and continuing to work with JC Penney.
Episode 5 of Halston begins with our troubled fashion designer in 1984, snorting coke and continuing to work with JC Penney. His lack of care and attention to detail is telling, as he slumps into a downward spiral of despair. He’s alone, after pushing everyone away.
Halston listens to scathing reviews from critics as Sassy reads them out to him. They’re scathing, and they only get worse with every one read. “Reviews don’t matter,” Halston eventually says nonchalantly.
It’s all change at work, and this sees Halston nowhere to be seen. Carl Epstein receives a less than enthusiastic greeting from all involved too.
Victor finally shows up and smashes a glass, confronting Halston and demanding a million dollars.
He claims he deserves this much as he blackmails his former lover, bringing up the situation surrounding home videos of his indiscretions. After breaking his lover’s nose, Victor promises to sue Halston.
Back at the company, the incompetent Epstein looks through the books and notices that the expenses are too numerous and the costs are out of control.
Carl immediately confronts Halston about this and demands he get control of his life. He wants Halston to be “normal” and even suggests putting his name against someone else’s designs.
Unwilling to sign off on licencing fees and with little work being done, Carl speaks to the board about their next steps. Well, this sees John David Ridge hired as a designer to help Halston meet his deadlines.
In private, John tells him he doesn’t like the idea of replacing Halston but he does admire the man for and everything he’s built. It’s a dream come true and in a previous life, worked as a costume designer.
Halston eventually agrees to collaborate and the pair set to work trying to save the designer’s name.
Only, all of this comes crashing down when Victor’s plan comes to fruition. Halston’s scandalous antics with cocaine taking and male prostitutes completely ruin him as it makes the mainstream news.
Liza rings and suggests he pay off Victor and be done with it but he refuses to do so. In fact, the reveal about Halston’s health and his AIDS diagnosis have completely broken him to the point that he refuses to give in.
8 weeks behind on his designs, Halston confronts John about him signing off a design without his approval. Of course, John hits back and this causes Halston to go straight to Carl and demand he be let go. If he does so though, he’ll owe 925 million.
Unfortunately Halston goes completely off the deep end and sells all his assets. They have the Halston name and it’s only now that our designer decides to pay off Victor.
Victor then arrives at the compound and tries to convince Halston to join him for a new business venture. Halston tells Victor he loved him and walks away, unwilling to fall into this trap again.
We then skip forward to 1987. Halston arrives to see Martha at her dance studio. After being fired and in need of a creative outlet, he manages to bag himself a job with her.
Before that, he shows up to see John Ridge at Halston HQ. He asks for help creating costumes and begins mending the bridges he burned so badly before.
Among those is Joe, who shows up in a limo outside the dance studio. The pair finally laugh after a quick quip or two.
Joe is healthy and doing okay, while Halston admits he’s now free of Victor. It’s a really touching moment, as Halston admits that Joe was as much a part of him as he was himself.
After a dazzling display, Halston braces himself for the critic reviews. They’re a smash, and even The Times have a glowing review for him.
On the back of this, Halston decides to sell the townhouse and leave; he’s going on a trip to the West Coast. When Liza finds out, she sobs in Halston’s arms and promises this isn’t the end and that he’ll return.
As he drives up the coast, letting the wind blow in his face, the series comes to a close.
Of course, that’s not all. We also receive word of what happened to everyone else in this miniseries. Victor Hugo died in 1993. Elsa Peretti became one of the most influential jewelry designers of the 20th century, having died this year.
Meanwhile, Joe continued to illustrate fashion design until his death in 2004. Liza Minneli is still alive and well, while Halston spent the last 18 months of his life driving up the west coast, eventually dying in San Francisco in 1990.
The Episode Review
Halston bows out with a decent enough finale, rounding out this five episode mini-series with a look at Halston’s last days in fashion before everything came crashing down.
Of course, his final swansong with the critics and the theater production is a nice touch and certainly an emotional segment in this turbulent five part series.
The acting has been decent all round too, with Halston brought to life by Ewan McGregor with the swagger and charisma one would expect.
As I’ve said before though, this show doesn’t quite dive into the emotional trauma surrounding Halston or his childhood in as much detail as this series perhaps demands.
That’s a shame too as the story instead plays out almost like a by-the-numbers biopic rather than n engrossing and deeply written series.
There’s no doubting that the production and costume design are absolutely on point though and this one is incredibly stylish, doing an excellent job bringing the fashion world to life.
While there’s nothing inherently bad about Halston, there’s nothing overly outstanding or incredibly either. Instead, this feels like a glossing-over of a very complicated and interesting character.