April 23, 1932 Des Moines, IA noon* (time unknown)
One of the greatest American designers of the 20th century was undoubtedly Roy Halston Frowick, known simply as Halston. Perhaps more than any other designer, Halston was successful at capturing a mood and spirit of carefree luxury and glamour that buyers sought to emulate, truly paving the way for the modern aspiration-based lifestyle brands of today. Halston became synonymous with decadence, privilege and the good life.
Many of these keywords are also associated with Halston’s sign, Taurus. People born under the sign of Taurus have an appreciation for natural beauty, they are creative and perfectionistic. They have extremely refined senses; taste, touch, smell, sound and sight. Hence they can be very picky about what they eat and drink. And as a designer, Taureans are extremely picky about the materials they use and the tactile quality they are producing.
This is why as Halston’s designs became more and more minimalist, his perfectionism over the quality of his materials became ever stronger. With such an appreciation of the senses and of natural beauty, Taureans rarely prefer busy garments, but rather choose simple, flattering styles with only the highest quality cut and materials. This is the essence of the American sportswear movement which Halston pioneered. Leather, suede, jersey and satin were favorites (he was the pioneer of ultra-suede). And his classic menswear-inspired pant suits, goddess gowns and halter dresses were stylish, simple and functional. Somehow the spare styles in the luxurious materials captured the zeitgeist of the 1970s, an era when people did not feel like they had to wear their politics on their sleeves.
The party-boy association came more from Halston’s moon in Sagittarius than from his Taurus sun sign. The Sagg energy loves to have a good time and is fascinated with people of all different backgrounds and cultures. This is likely what inspired young Halston to break away from his midwestern upbringing and head to cosmopolitan nexus of New York City. Style-wise Sagittarius is interesting because as a fire sign it loves to garner attention and be au courant, but is also rather sporty so needs to be comfortable as well. Sagittarius is ruled by expansive, optimistic and sometimes over-the-top Jupiter. Jupiter’s influence in many cases is to elevate the qualities that are already present, in this case, in the Taurus sun. Halston’s style thus became ‘ultra’ everything; ultra-luxurious, ultra-chic, ultra-exclusive. Though he befriended and dressed virtually every famous star of the 1970s, one of the fashion icons he is most associated with is fellow Taurus Bianca Jagger.
Halston’s style was thus very much a combination of his perfectionistic obsession with high quality and materials (Taurus) and his desire to produce clothes that were simultaneously glamorous and comfortable (Sagittarius). With his Venus, planet of love and beauty, in Gemini he enjoyed attending lots of social events and making new friends. His conjunction of Mars, Uranus and Mercury in aggressive Aries, however, hints at his unpredictability and volatility, especially as his drug addiction spiraled further out of control.
It is the planet Venus which represents all things beautiful and harmonious, all things glamorous and sensual. It is no surprise then that in the disco era of the 1970s, Venus-ruled Taurus and it’s native Halston, were able to capture the ethos of all things seductive, to epitomize the carefree abandonment of the Studio 54 set. The actresses, rock stars, moguls and socialites of that era were the first American jet-setters. Americans coveted Halston gowns in the 1970s to feel like they were a part of this mesmerizing crowd. The brand was thus effectively ruined when they began a collaboration with budget retailer JC Penny, destroying the image of exclusivity they were so deeply associated with.
It also also no surprise then that the designer who more or less took the baton from Halston in the 1980s in terms of the luxury, aspirational market was another Venus-ruled designer, Libra Ralph Lauren. While the Halston ethos had focused on glamour, luxury, quality and exclusivity (Taurus), the Ralph Lauren ethos focused more on ease, sociability, status and refinement (Libra). Both designers painted a picture (Venus) of the lives that millions aspired to. Ralph Lauren, however, in a typically diplomatic Libra way, handled his brands foray into mid-level price points with more grace and ease.
Though Halston himself passed away in 1990, 2008 is an exciting year for the Halston brand, as it was re-launched in time for the Fall 2008 collections. Though there are no Taureans involved this go round there is a good team at the helm of the iconic label. Two of the new owners are Pisces mogul Harvey Weinstein and former Jimmy Choo boss Cancer Tamara Mellon. And one of Tamara’s best friends, Virgo stylist Rachel Zoe is on board as a creative consultant. The Virgo and Cancer energy is similarly concerned with cut and perfectionism (Virgo) and comfort and wearability (Cancer) so they should do well keeping the original luxurious and simple feeling of the clothes alive.