Today Marie Mazelis was quick to point out that Halston Heritage is no archival brand. In the two years since taking the helm of the relaunched house, Mazelis has focused on splicing the house’s weighty DNA with modern ease to turn out a contemporary line. In keeping with a footing that’s firmly placed in the 21st century (a far cry from the Studio 54 goddess gowns and jewel tones seen under former creative director Sarah Jessica Parker), for Spring Mazelis zeroed in on a particularly modern element of Roy Halston Frowick’s legacy. Long before there was Raf Simons x Sterling Ruby, there were Halston’s myriad collaborations with artists, from his lover Victor Hugo to close friend Andy Warhol (their partnership was the subject of an exhibition at Pittsburgh’s Warhol Museum earlier this year).
Mazelis’ primary interests were collaborations with Elsa Peretti, and Up Tied, a textile studio that pioneered luxe takes on tie-dying techniques. The former came through in metal accents that spoke to Peretti’s flair for the organically architectural, such as hefty built-in belts or a silver boomerang shape to highlight a slinky cutout. Silhouettes, from gowns to jumpsuits, leaned on asymmetry and modern tailoring touches like slashes at lapels and down spines. The palette here was quiet, with plenty of dove gray, dusty pink, and soft blue jazzed up thanks to Up Tied’s influence. A gray microsuede topper in a soft stripe was particularly exquisite. There were plenty of lovely separates here that are sure to have wide-ranging appeal, and in light of a somewhat fraught few years for Halston, it’s not surprising that Mazelis would opt to play it a bit safe with her offerings. But the professionally quirky Carrie Brownstein’s recent turn at the Emmys in a one-shoulder goddess gown from the brand (and a host of other red-carpet credits) should serve as a vote of confidence—and license to play a little more in future collections.