By ERIC WILSON
Published: July 26, 2010
MUCH of the lore surrounding the South American window artist who went by the name of Victor Hugo, and was the lover of Roy Halston Frowick, centers around his rather memorable ability in the 1970s to make Halston's sophisticated drawings seem downright shocking.
This is a man, after all, who arranged to have a mannequin give birth in the windows of the designer’s store, something that impressed Juliana Cairone, the owner of Rare Vintage, when she saw the recent biopic “Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston.” She was planning a Halston sale at her gallery, at 24 West 57th Street, and she decided it called for a more daring installation than hanging dresses on a rack.
Between windows with birthing mannequins and one that depicted the aftermath of the 1975 La Guardia Airport Christmas bombing, Halston once had to acknowledge that some people found them to be “bad taste and vulgar.” Not to be outdone, Ms. Cairone was kicking around the idea of a commemoration of the kidnapping of Patty Hearst. Think of Patty in a strapless tie-front dress flanked by cashmere-swathed terrorists toting machine guns.
Whatever you might think of the display, the sale, opening on Aug. 19, sounds like a good one. Ms. Cairone has some prime pieces, including a cashmere sweater dress with the high armholes and tight sleeves that were Halston signatures, a papery gold shirtdress and a strapless gold wrap-dress, priced from about $1,600 to $3,100.
“People don’t want to let go of the really good pieces,” she said.
Also included in the sale are 22 original sketches of Halston designs by Joe Eula. Each about the size of a postcard, they are from the collection of Chuck and Candy Pratts Price. Ms. Price, a Vogue editor, was once part of that glamorous Halston entourage, and herself a onetime window dresser at Bloomingdale’s (showstoppers for sure, just not as provocative).
Among the sketches, priced from $650 to $750, are ones that show shirtdresses and fur-trimmed capes on the Halston model Karen Bjornson, and a funny one depicting Liza Minnelli in a swimsuit with what appears to be a fan made of bananas.
“I don’t normally respond to drawings, but these — they are so Halston,” Ms. Cairone said.