Halston's death: The brilliant fashion designer's tragic battle with AIDS

15 May 2021, 12:00 | Updated: 17 May 2021, 10:21

Halston is played by Ewan McGregor in the new Netflix series
Halston is played by Ewan McGregor in the new Netflix series. Picture: Netflix

By Emma Clarke

Scottish actor Ewan McGregor plays the fashion visionary in the new Netflix drama.

Netflix's latest drama is based on the life and career of iconic fashion designer, Halston.

Played by Ewan McGregor in the five-parter, Halston was renowned for his simple, yet chic women's clothing, and dressed some of the hottest stars and creatives of the Studio 54 era.

Tragically, Halston's life was cut short at the age of 57.

Here, we take a look in more detail at the person behind the Netflix series and his untimely death.

READ MORE: Inside Halston and Liza Minnelli's close friendship

Fashion designer Halston interviewed at Mark Hopkins February 4, 1982
Fashion designer Halston interviewed at Mark Hopkins February 4, 1982. Picture: Getty

Who was Halston?

During the 1970s, fashion designer Halston rose to fame with his elegant, clean-cut women's clothing.

Not only did he design outfits for the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Anjelica Huston and Jackie Kennedy, he formed a close friendship with Liza Minnelli and regularly dressed the Cabaret star.

Starting off making hats, Halston soon made a name for himself, opening a fashion boutique on New York's famous Madison Avenue in the the late 1960s.

Halston was often photographed at the iconic Studio 54 club in Midtown with his pals and artist Andy Warhol. He even threw a white-themed party in honour of Bianca Jagger, where she and Minnelli released white doves.

How did Halston die?

In 1988, Halston tested positive for HIV. Shortly after his diagnosis, he moved to San Francisco, California, to be closer to his family, who continued to care for him until his death.

It is said that his hospital - which overlooked the city's famous Golden Gate Bridge - was always filled with orchids and he received gourmet meals during his stay.

Two years later, on March 26, 1990, Halston died of AIDS-related complications aged 57. At the time of his death, medics confirmed Halston developed Kaposi's sarcoma - a rare type of cancer that often affects the skin and mouth, but sometimes internal organs as well.

Bianca Jagger with Halston
Bianca Jagger with Halston. Picture: Getty

What did Halston's friends and family say about his death?

In a statement made at the time, Liza Minnelli said: “I’m very, very saddened by this loss. I just lost my best friend.”

Halston's brother said his family “mourns the loss of a magnificent and deeply respected brother and friend. We thank all those from around the world who have been communicating thoughtful wishes to him.

"America has lost a true patriot and its greatest designer, one of the greatest designers in the world.”

Calvin Klein later dubbed Halston the “greatest American fashion designer who ever lived”.

Halston is available to watch on Netflix now.