Inside Halstons Relationship With Artist Victor Hugo

Are you in love with the disco dresses of the 70s? You should thank Halston for them. The American fashion designer started off his career by creating whimsical luxury hats worn by celebrities such as Jacqueline Kennedy, Liza Minnelli, and Diana Vreeland (via Biography). Halston then went into designing women’s dresses and got famous for his iconic halter dresses. He soon became friends with famous figures like Andy Warhol and Pat Cleveland, and was a regular at New York’s Studio 54 disco, per The Cut.

As part of his efforts to democratize fashion, the Des-Moines native partnered with JC Penney to create dress collections for the masses. However, that partnership destroyed Halston’s reputation in the luxury fashion world which got even worse after his company was bought by Norton Simon, owner of Playtex and Beatrix Foods. Halston, who was HIV positive, died when he was 57 years old from lung cancer worsened by HIV.

Halston lived an openly gay lifestyle alongside his boyfriend Victor Hugo

According to Halston biographer Steven Gaines, the fashion designer never came out as gay on the record but lived an openly gay lifestyle  His most well-known relationship was with Venezuelan-born window dresser Victor Hugo, with whom he had a chaotic relationship that necessitated a non-disclosure agreement. Gaines, who interviewed Hugo for his book, “Simply Halston: The Untold Story,” which is being turned into a miniseries for Netflix (via Town & Country), described the couple’s turbulent relationship in an interview with New Now Next. 

“I think it was real love of a sort,” he told the outlet. “It wasn’t the kind of romantic, sweet, tender, caring love. Victor was stealing stuff out of the house when Halston was dying. They had to lock him out of the house.” Gaines also revealed that Hugo violated the non-disclosure agreement Halston had him sign, saying he “had no respect for anything” and “thought he was untouchable.” 

“Halston” will be available to stream on Netflix on May 14.

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