Netflix‘s Halston isn’t sitting well with the late designer’s camp.
Representatives from the Halston Archives and Family condemned the show in a statement Monday, calling it “an inaccurate, fictionalized account” and noting that the designer’s family was not consulted for the project.
“The HALSTON Archives remains the only definitive and comprehensive source on the man and his legacy as the personally appointed custodian of his private papers and effects,” read a statement shared on PR Newswire, per Deadline.
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The five-episode limited series, produced by Ryan Murphy and directed by Daniel Minahan, is set to debut this Friday. Starring Ewan McGregor in the titular role, it traces Roy Halston Frowick‘s rise to fashion industry giant and fall after precarious business deals cause him to lose his name. Along the way, the story covers the designer’s personal battles and relationships, and involvement in the Studio 54 scene.
Halston’s family has been protective of the icon’s legacy following his death from AIDS complications in 1990, according to WWD. His niece Lesley Frowick, who oversees the archives, told the outlet that his kin try to keep his life private while holding his memory in high esteem. (She worked on the documentary Halston: The Original Fashion Mogul, which aired on CNN in 2019.)
Frowick added that instead of coming to the family, Netflix “approached some people from the quote-unquote inner circle, but I don’t know who they are,” she told WWD. “They did not approach us at all so this is in fact an unauthorized series about my uncle’s life and touching on fiction, I guess. Salacious things sell.” As for the glitzy portrayals of Halston’s links to Studio 54, she said, “It’s sad that so many people are trying to monetize on that.”
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While Netflix has not yet publicly addressed the statement, the Halston crew have been openly discussing bringing the show to life in the lead-up to the premiere. Minahan and Christine Vachon, executive producers onthe series, even worked on the idea for more than 20 years before it came to life, they told The Advocate.
“It’s a story about a really special time in New York,” said Minahan, who grew up idolizing Halston. “I moved here because I wanted to go to Studio 54. I mean, I was too young. I wanted to go to the Mudd Club. I wanted to be with Halston, and Andy Warhol, and Steve Rubell [Studio 54’s owner].”
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For McGregor, it was the opposite. “I didn’t know Halston at all,” he told The New York Times. But in his preparation for the role, he had tea with Liza Minnelli, one of Halston’s best friends; he watched Project Runway; and he worked with the show’s costume designer to learn how to drape and pin fabrics. He even got a sewing machine and tried to make himself a pair of pants.
Aside from denouncing the show, the Halston Archive and Family announced plans to partner with “select non-profit organizations and institutions to establish fashion scholarships in Halston’s name as a way to inspire and empower the next generation of American Fashion Designers,” according to the statement. The archives will also launch a limited product line featuring original artwork to fund the scholarship program.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.