Simple. Pragmatic. Effortless. All-American. Minimalist. All words to describe Roy Frowick Halston's approach to fashion, and all elements we need more of today. They are the building blocks to creating a streamlined and more sustainable wardrobe, and ones I try to infuse into Senza Tempo's designs.
"Halston understood the subjectivity of wearing fashion, but he also knew that simplicity and pragmatism constitute an undeniable and unconditional beauty." — Harold Koda, Metropolitan Museum of Art, American Ingenuity Sportswear 1930s - 1970s
Simplicity in design is crucial to creating anything truly sustainable because the most sustainable thing any of us can do is wear every item in our wardrobe, and every new item we buy as much as possible. That means making items as versatile as possible through their design from fabric choice.
Simple designs create versatile garments. They are harder to construct and often harder to fit as every flaw is exposed. Halston was a minimalist in the purest and most technical sense using a minimum number of cut pieces. Many of his items featured only two seams, which is extraordinarily difficult and why he was called America's only couturier. Model Pat Cleveland recalls how he could lay a piece of fabric on the floor, cut it and then fold it into a dress on her body.
He thought clothing should be effortless and consulted with his clients down to their stockings and shoes. He had a uniform approach to a woman's wardrobe (something we've written about and is an approach we take at Senza Tempo) and thought everything should be easy. It was a capsule wardrobe philosophy before anyone even knew what that was. His clothing could often simply be pulled over your head or had an elastic waistband — two design features of the new Pat and Claire ensemble. He also chose fabrics that were generally ultra-luxurious, and comfortable was absolutely crucial.
His clothing was naturally versatile, something we aim to achieve with every Senza Tempo garment. He freed women by creating clothing they could easily move and dance in. His evening pajamas, much like the Pat and Claire ensemble, could be worn entertaining at home, rocking out at Studio 54, or lounging on a beach in St. Tropez.
Andrew Bolton, the head curator at The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art stated that he thought that American fashion broadly has been unfairly dismissed due to its values of utility, functionality, and pragmatism. All of this could be said for Halston's work, which most would agree is just as fashionable and timeless as it is pragmatic.