If we can count on one thing in this life, it’s that Ryan Murphy will always leap at the chance to translate history’s glamourous cabals of artists and socialites into a buzzy TV series. The latest effort features Ewan McGregor as the celebrated and sometimes salacious American fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick, known mononymously as Halston. The Netflix series is currently being devoured by fashion enthusiasts and casual viewers, naturally sparking much intrigue about the true story behind Halston.
While the spirit of their performances are by no means captured by a side-by-side comparison of the actors and the real people in Halston’s circle that they play, it is nevertheless a fun exercise. With biopics and docuseries like House Of Gucci, Pam & Tommy and The Serpent all making concerted efforts to reproduce their subjects with spot-on likenesses, how does Halston measure up?
Below, the cast of Halston in costume and how they compare to the real people of the glamorous designer’s inner circle.
The Cast Of Halston vs Their Real-Life Counterparts
Ewan McGregor as Halston
Ewan McGregor surely knew to expect a little critique when tackling the fiercely beloved American fashion designer, who left behind a number of influential friends from his era. While the hair and costuming look quite accurate to us, Halston’s model friend and member of the Halstonettes Pat Cleveland recently told The Cut McGregor didn’t quite cut it for her.
“[Ewan McGregor] almost got the voice right, I must say. Like, sometimes he really sounds like Halston. But he just didn’t have the stature, and that bothered me. Halston, when he walked into a room, he was just so sleek. And he’d never wear that shiny jacket. I don’t know why they put him in that.”
Krysta Rodriguez as Liza Minnelli
Perhaps an even bigger challenge than portraying a past icon, is portraying one who is still among us. Krysta Rodriguez does an admirable job as Halston’s friend, champion and muse Liza Minnelli.
David Pittu as Joe Eula
A key player in the Halston series and an important part of the real Halston fashion house’s legacy is Joe Eula, played by David Pittu. Eula was an eminent American fashion illustrator and held the position of creator director at Halston for a decade.
Rebecca Dayan as Elsa Peretti
Another model who formed part of the Halstonettes was Elsa Peretti, played by French actress and model Rebecca Dayan. Peretti, of course, went on to become an incredibly celebrated jewellery designer in her own right, creating a number of iconic pieces for luxury jewellery company Tiffany & Co.
Cleveland also offered up her perspective on Dayan’s portrayal of Peretti:
“Elsa was so tall and so boyish. The woman in the show [Rebecca Dayan] was not. Elsa wasn’t, like, sexy-feminine. She always had a cigarette, like, Ah, I don’t care, darling. She was always looking up in the air and in her own world, la-di-da, like the royals. Halston loved that. He said, ‘If I would marry anyone, it would be Elsa.’ But in the show, their relationship was too male-female. Elsa was as big as Halston; they were like androgynous lovers. She was so inspiring because she didn’t care what anybody thought. She was going to wear her flat shoes and her pants. She cut her hair into a bob—like really, really short, like a boy—and always had on big glasses. She really had her own thing.”
Shawna Hamic as Pat Ast
Shawna Hamic tackles the eminent figure of Pat Ast, an American actress and model who was a trailblazer on runways during her era. Ast was among the Halstonettes troupe of models Halston favoured and she later went on to star in Andy Warhol’s film Heat. Fittingly, Shawna Hamic is also something of a performance legend, having spent years on Broadway as well as appearing recently in Orange Is The New Black.