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Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston

Premiering on Friday 30th April as part of the Tribeca Film Festival, this documentary from director Whitney Sudler-Smith tells the life story of the man who embodied the decadence and glamour of 70's New York. Interviews with some of Halston's nearest and dearest -- including Liza Minelli, Model Pat Cleveland, and Anjelica Houston -- as well as revered fashion insiders such as The New York Times's Cathy Horyn, and the inclusion of amusing facts from Vogue's resident caricature Andre Leon Talley, help to paint a vision into another era: one of excess, vanity, true talent, and ultimate tragedy.

Ultrasuede is a Japanese-manufactured synthetic fabric, with all of the qualities of a luxury garment, but that could be washed at home for a very modern gal and and the fabric for which perhaps Halston became best known. The film's audience is is taken on an elite, fabulous journey with this truly brilliant and innovative man. Through Studio 54 with Truman Capote to his incredible showroom in the Olympic Tower, and from hobnobbing with socialites and celebrities in Acapulco to the glamour of his fitting sessions for his legendary fashion shows, then to watch his eventual decline largely brought about from the sale of his name to Norton Simon and by his billion dollar deal with JC Penney, which signified the beginning of the end for his company, along with his drug abuse.

Ultrasuede is an interesting homage to Halston. Sudler-Smith's sparse knowledge of fashion proves an effective tool for teaching the broader audience, thus what could have been an industry insider-based film, actually became an everyman's peephole into the highs and lows of a visionary who was very loved and a man who redefined American fashion.
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