By Jennifer Young
Paris may have launched Chanel and Milan delivered Armani, but it was Evansville, Indiana, that gave the fashion world Halston.
Perhaps the Frank Lloyd Wright of fashion with his minimalist styles and clean designs, Halston achieved international fame during the 1970s. Before Roy Halston Frowick would be known simply by his Halston moniker, he built his career designing for men and later for women, especially hats. You might have seen his famous pillbox designs famously worn by First Lady Jackie Kennedy, who was a fan of the up-and-coming designer.
Halston was born in Des Moines, Iowa, in 1932, but he moved to Evansville during his childhood and attended high school there until graduating in 1950. Even as a child, Halston liked to sew and made clothing articles for his mother and sister. Two years after graduating, Halston moved to Chicago where he began work as a window dresser. He also signed up for an evening class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Within another few years, he was selling his own hat creations and was able to open a shop on North Michigan Avenue by 1957.
Wearing the hat of shop owner was not enough to keep the ambitious designer in Chicago. He left for New York City soon after to work for the celebrated French milliner Lilly Dache. Within the year, Dache promoted her protege as co-designer and he began to hobnob with fashion editors and publishers.