Clothed Ascension is focused on a clothing line designed by Roy Halston Frowick (1932–1990).
Known simply as Halston, the fashion icon helped popularize the glitz and glamour behind Studio 54 in midtown Manhattan in the 1970s. In an unexpected midcareer move in the early 1980s, Halston teamed with the department store J.C. Penney to launch a collection. Departing from his designs for some of the world’s leading fashion houses, Halston III was unique for its blend of signature couture in a populist format. The collection was a visionary yet misguided business venture that ultimately flopped. With the reassuring tagline “You’re looking smarter than ever,” Halston III made haute couture available to the masses and promised social mobility. It was a prototype for the merchandising collaborations churned out today between celebrities and designers at the apex of their careers and mega-corporations.
Chris Lipomi’s latest exhibition focuses on the democratic approach to fashion developed by Halston. For LA><ART Lipomi presents an inspired and artistically warped version of what Halston offered to the business-minded woman of the 1980s. This trip back in time recovers the polyester curtains, teardrop perfume bottles, advertisements made in collaboration with Andy Warhol and a facsimile of a Halston III mail catalog. As the star who furnished disco-age styles, the project considers how Halston unwittingly marked the limits of decadence in the mainstream later in his career.