Simply Halston

Steven S. Gaines, Author Putnam Publishing Group $22.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-399-13612-2
There's a sad irony in the glitzy life of fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick, product of a Midwestern Depression childhood with an alcoholic father and the self-made ``king of New York night life.'' Halston, whose clean-cut, all-American style was mass-marketed through J. C. Penney, was hooked on cocaine, booze and Quaaludes and had a nasty anti-Semitic streak, as portrayed here. As his fame peaked, he became increasingly paranoid, capricious and hot-tempered, according to Gaines, author of a Beatles biography ( The Love You Make ). Halston, at the height of his fame, was ``almost a caricature of a sissy homosexual fashion designer, haughty and superficial,'' we are told. There are candid details of his coked-out Venezuelan window-dresser lover, his endless stream of call boys, business reversals, cavortings with the rich and beautiful (Andy Warhol, Liza Minnelli et al.) and his death from AIDS in 1990 at the age of 57. Alternately fawning and damning, this frantic biography has a hollow center where a man should be. Photos. First serial to Vanity Fair. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1991
Release date: 09/01/1991
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-515-11015-9
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