Author of 'Halston: Inventing American Fashion' to speak at IU Bloomington

  • Sept. 3, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Lesley Frowick will share her unique personal perspective on Halston, her beloved uncle and the influential 20th-century fashion designer, in a September visit to the Indiana University Bloomington campus.

The Indiana University Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design will present Frowick as a 2015 Bill Blass Design Seminar Speaker. She will deliver her lecture, "A Personal Journey with Halston," at 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11, in Room 102 of the Fine Arts Building.

Frowick, who earned a bachelor's degree at IU in 1981, will sign copies of her recently published book, "Halston: Inventing American Fashion," immediately following her lecture, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Grunwald Gallery.

These events are free and open to the public.

Roy Halston Frowick moved with his family to Evansville, Ind., in 1942. After studying at IU for a semester in 1952, he had a successful millinery career in Chicago and opened his own shop in 1957 on Michigan Avenue. First noticed for his iconic pillbox hat worn by Jackie Kennedy to the 1961 presidential inauguration, Halston showed his first apparel collection in 1966 and soon ruled the fashion landscape.

Halston's spare aesthetic and regard for the female form resulted in modern American clothing that was sensual, comfortable and elegant. His Ultrasuede shirtwaist dress of 1972 became an instant fashion classic, and Newsweek magazine celebrated him as "the premier fashion designer of all America" in 1973. His wildly successful namesake fragrance was released in 1975, and his experiments in branding and mass-market collaborations foreshadowed the popular designer and mass-market partnerships found at H&M and Target today.

Lesley Frowick's personal appearance is one of a series of events in conjunction with the exhibition "Halston: Line and Legacy," on view at IU's Grunwald Gallery of Art through Oct. 3. The exhibition presented by the Sage Collection in the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design celebrates the innovative Coty Award-winning 20th-century fashion legend and former IU student. Known for his association with artists and celebrities such as Andy Warhol and Liza Minnelli, as well as the vibrant Studio 54 disco scene, the name Halston is synonymous with 1970s glamour.

The Frowick family has strong ties to Indiana University. Lesley's father and Halston's brother, Robert Frowick, graduated from Indiana University in 1953 and earned a master's degree from IU in government in 1953. After receiving a Ph.D. from Yale, he embarked on a distinguished diplomatic career with assignments throughout Europe. In 1998, he was the recipient of IU's Distinguished Alumni Service Award. Proceeds from the sale of "Halston: Inventing American Fashion" will support a scholarship established in Robert Frowick's name.

"The designs in the 'Halston: Line and Legacy' exhibition take on new depth of meaning by virtue of Ms. Frowick's personal interpretation of her uncle's creations," said Kate Rowold, director of the Sage Collection and a professor of fashion design and history. "The relationship between Indiana University and the Frowick family comes full circle through this event."

This event is made possible through the Bill Blass Fashion Design Seminar Series established in 2002 with a bequest from fashion designer Bill Blass, a native Hoosier and friend of Indiana University. The Bill Blass Design Seminar Series is presented and hosted by the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design and the College of Arts and Sciences.

For more information on this event, contact Kelly Richardson.

In 2016, IU's Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design is scheduled to join studio art programs in the new School of Art and Design on the Bloomington campus.

Related Links

Halston in Paris, 1966

Halston in Paris, 1966 | Photo by Jean Barthet

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Halston Blue Dress

"Halston: Line and Legacy" continues through Oct. 3 at IU's Grunwald Gallery.

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