Over the course of the 1970s, Halston, who was completely self-trained, established himself as a leading figure in international fashion after launching his career as a milliner at Bergdorf Goodman. Among his professional achievements are his participation in the 1973 French-American fashion show at the Palace of Versailles; the sale of his company to Norton Simon Inc. in 1973 and subsequent creation of the vastly expanded Halston Enterprises; his induction into the Coty Award Hall of Fame; his launch of menswear and fragrance lines in 1975; and his design of uniforms for the 1976 American Winter Olympics team. Halston pioneered the use of synthetic fabrics in high fashion and developed numerous influential designs including the shirtdress (Fall 1972), single-seam dress (Spring 1974), and the bodystocking (Fall 1977). He was recognized not only for his innovative designs and embrace of new materials, but, like Warhol, possessed a sophisticated understanding of publicity and the importance of a well-crafted brand.
Andy Warhol began his career in as a commercial illustrator but quickly rose to fame in the 1960s as one of leaders of the movement known as “Pop Art.” He drew upon celebrities and products from the world of popular culture as his primary subject matter and often utilized techniques from outside of the realm of traditional fine art, such as silk screening, to make his work. Warhol called his studio “The Factory;” it served as a gathering place for artists, models, musicians, and other creative minds.
Warhol met Halston through fashion illustrator Joe Eula, with whom he collaborated in 1972 on the production of Halston’s fashion show for the Coty Awards at Lincoln Center. The two subsequently became close friends and colleagues who famously socialized with each other while also exerting a strong influence on each other’s creative practice. Halston collected Warhol’s work which he displayed both in his 63rd Street townhouse and his seaside retreat in Montauk that he rented from Warhol, a subject portrayed by Warhol in video, painting, and photography. He often used patterns inspired by artists including Warhol's flower painting in his designs. In 1979 Warhol dedicated a chapter of his book, Andy Warhol’s Exposures, to Halston, describing him as the “first All-American fashion designer.” The two remained close friends and colleagues until Warhol’s death in 1987.
The exhibition draws upon the collections of The Andy Warhol Museum, The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Lesley Frowick, Karen Bjornson (Halston supermodel), the Des Moines Art Center, and other important institutions.
An illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition with contributions from Diane Von Furstenberg, Pat Cleveland, Valerie Steele (Director, MFIT), Eric Shiner (Director, The Andy Warhol Museum), Lesley Frowick, Corinne LaBalme (fashion journalist and former Halston employee) and Geralyn Huxley (Curator of Film and Video, The Andy Warhol Museum).
Halston and Warhol: Silver and Suede is organized by The Andy Warhol Museum, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, and presented with the cooperation of Halston Heritage, the major lender to the exhibition. The exhibition is presented locally through the generous support of PNC Financial Services, Electrolux, Moore & Van Allen, the Mint Museum Auxiliary, and the Young Affiliates of the Mint.