TV review: Halston
This is the latest Netflix series from executive producer Ryan Murphy after the useless meh-fest that was Ratched.
For those sensitive to such things, Halston earns its R21 rating within the first 10 minutes.
So who is Halston?
I confess I had never heard of the fashion designer before this miniseries.
Possibly because the name did not travel as widely as his rivals Ralph Lauren or Calvin Klein, but it is intriguing how such an apparently famous person is barely spoken of.
The show has provoked me to find out more about the man - only we are not told that much.
LOST IN THE DETAILS
Why exactly does this egotist - who started as Roy Halston Frowick from Iowa and reinvented himself into a mononym brand - deserve such attention?
Murphy, who wrote four of the five episodes, is a fan but appears to be too lost in the aesthetics to craft much depth.
On the surface, this appears to be the story of a designer who got lucky, had the occasional flash of brilliance, gained a few famous friends and while he designed wonderfully for the high street, believed he was a true artist and gave it the full prima donna attitude.
Now that might not be the case, but that is how it is presented.
Like many stories set in the disco era of 70s New York, Halston - the man and the series - falls for the lure of fame and partying.
While the man lets an avalanche of cocaine, debauchery and toxic affairs sap what talent he has, the series is locked on this aspect for too long rather than delving deeper.
And while Halston (Ewan McGregor) seems to be set for a fall – not least because of his total disregard for anyone who is neither himself nor best pal, actress-singer Liza Minnelli (played by Krysta Rodriguez) – there is no rock bottom.
Any consequences are shrugged off. Surely there must be more.
There is, but that is the homework the series inadvertently sets.
That is not to say Halston is boring. McGregor is great and Rodriguez is bound to win whatever awards are still around next year for her brilliant turn.
Suitably, the production design is spectacular, but it is part of the facade to keep you distracted.
By the end of the story, you are left feeling: Is that it?
STARRING: Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Dayan, David Pittu, Krysta Rodriguez, Gian Franco Rodriguez
DIRECTOR: Daniel Minahan
THE SKINNY: The story of how US fashion designer Halston (McGregor) leveraged a moment of fame in the 60s - the pillbox hat worn by Jackie Kennedy at the 1961 presidential inauguration - into a fashion empire in the 70s.
SHOWING ON: Netflix