“I think people really don’t understand just quite the level of influence that he’s had on modern American fashion,” declares costume designer Jeriana San Juan about Halston, the fashion icon who is the subject of a new Netflix limited series of the same name. San Juan’s costumes for the series, which stars Ewan McGregor in the title role, reflect not just Halston’s legendary designs but also the fashion trends from the late 1960s thru the early 1990s. Check out Gold Derby’s exclusive video interview with San Juan above.
As someone steeped in the history of fashion, San Juan admits to having mixed emotions when faced with the opportunity to tackle Halston’s signature style. “I think maybe initially it’s excitement and then it’s fear because you sort of just throw yourself off the cliff and then you’ve got to find a way to land,” she explains. “I think that’s, what’s so exciting about it and that’s, what’s so appealing about it. I really just felt like some of the best projects that I’ve been able to do in my career have been the scariest and that’s what’s so great about it.”
San Juan worked closely with McGregor to teach him the basics of design. She would record herself working and then walk through all of the movements with the actor, and she found McGregor to be an incredibly quick study. “I call it sort of like design choreography of how to pull fabric off a roll, how to pull a yardage off of the roll of fabric like you’ve been doing it for 20 plus years,” she explains. “He is so clever ad smart and really just kind of got it and he truly amazed me.” San Juan felt the same way about her collaboration with Krysta Rodriguez, who plays Halston’s longtime friend and muse Liza Minelli. ” It’s a celebration of these people and their immense creativity and friendship,” she says.
Later in his career, Halston lost ownership of his brand just a few years before his death in 1990. San Juan hopes that the series provides audiences with an education on Halston’s lasting impact on the fashion world. “I think it’s a cautionary tale,” she argues. “It just shows you that sometimes if you’re the first one or the pioneer, it doesn’t always go well with you. But maybe it goes better for the people behind you.”
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