When I visited the Mint Museum several weeks ago I picked up a card listing the upcoming exhibitions. I was thrilled to see that Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede was to be traveling there next spring. To celebrate I rushed home and ordered the companion book which was complied by the Andy Warhol Museum, the co-organizer (along with Halston’s niece, Leslie Frowick) of the show.
Halston and Warhol were, of course, contemporaries, but they were also friends and collaborators. Warhol did his first flowers screen prints in the early Sixties, but he returned to the theme in 1970. Two years later Halston had silk printed with the motif which was made into dresses.
Starting in 1979 Halston created a line of shoes for Garolini. Warhol photographed a grouping of them in 1980 and created screen prints sprinkled with diamond dust.
In 1982 Halston commissioned Warhol to create art for his men’s wear line’s ad campaign.
The book is arranged in chronological order according to decades. For each there is a handy timeline for Warhol at the top, and Halston at the bottom of the page. It helps one see clearly how their lives and work connected.
Though Warhol was an artist, he was also a fashion illustrator, and he continued to be interested in fashion throughout his life. His work for fashion companies and for fashion magazines spilled over into his non-commercial art. Shoes was a prominent theme. In the late Fifties he made stamps, as seen on the right, that he printed on paper and then hand colored.
The exhibition also shows examples of Halston’s signature looks, including the sarong dress. Inspired by a friend and model who wrapped a towel around herself as she emerged from a swimming pool, Halston began working with the form. The dress looks simple, but it is meticulously constructed on the bias.
This photograph was taken in 1974 at the famous Studio 54. Halston is on the left and Warhol is on the right, with various other celebrities mingled in.
If you are a fan of the work of either Warhol or Halston, the book is a great resource to have whether you get to bee the exhibition or not. It is currently showing in Pittsburgh at The Warhol until August 24, and then it travels to Des Moines. It ends up in Charlotte next spring.
Hopefully that gives me time to do a little re-reading. I’m currently in the middle of Popism: The Warhol 60s. Next up is Simply Halston: A Scandalous Life by Steven Gaines which is a bit soapy and a lot gossipy. I’ll finish with a marathon reading of The Andy Warhol Diaries, which Warhol narrated over the telephone to his friend Pat Hackett from late in 1976 until his death in 1987.
Talk about gossipy! After the Diaries were published in 1989, Halston was reportedly so upset at the way he was portrayed that he sold his valuable collection of Warhol works. But as my sister used to say, “If you don’t want to be portrayed in a bad light, then don’t do and say bad things.” Unfortunately Halston didn’t have the benefit of my sister’s advice.