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American Fashion: The Genius of Halston

American Fashion: The Genius of Halston

"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

Simple. Pragmatic. Easy. Truly American. All words to describe Halston's approach to design, and elements we need more of in fashion today. Elements I try to infuse in Senza Tempo. They are the building blocks to creating a streamlined and more sustainable wardrobe.

 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 item we buy as much as possible. That means making items as versatile as possible through their design from fabric choice, to simplicity in the actual design. He 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 easy and 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. His clothing could often simply be pulled over your head, or had elastic waist bands — two design features of the new Pat and Claire ensemble. He also chose fabrics that were generally ultra luxurious, comfortable — and comforting something that was needed in the 1970s.

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.