Roy Halston Frowick was an American fashion designer who rose to international fame for his groundbreaking designs during his 1970s and 1980s heyday.
The designer, who went by the name Halston, was known for his high-profile clients and celebrity friends, such as Liza Minnelli, Elizabeth Taylor, Bianca Jagger, Andy Warhol and first lady Jackie Kennedy, as well as his penchant for partying at then-hotspot Studio 54 in New York City.
Halston’s colorful life came to an end in March 1990. The famed designer was just 57 years old when he died.
Halston Died After a Lengthy Illness Related to AIDS
Halston spent the last three months of his life in the hospital. He died in his sleep on March 26, 1990, at Pacific Presbyterian Medical Center, where he had been hospitalized since December 1989, per the Associated Press.
According to an obituary in the Los Angeles Times, Halston died of “Kaposi’s sarcoma involving the lungs.” His brother, Robert Frowick, revealed that the designer’s death came nearly two years after he was diagnosed with AIDS and AIDS-related cancer.
Revlon chairman Ronald Perelman released a statement following the fashion icon’s passing: “We are all deeply saddened by Halston’s death,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “He was an American leader of design and style who helped to define his entire era. He will be sorely missed.”
A memorial service for Halston was held at the Calvary Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, the AP reported.
Halston Spent His Final Days With His Family in California
While Halston spent many years in New York during his heyday as a fashion designer, he ultimately retreated to the West Coast in the late 1980s after learning he had AIDS, the Associated Press reported.
Upon his diagnosis, Halston moved to northern California to be near family and cruise around the Big Sur area in his new convertible Rolls-Royce Corniche.
Ryan Murphy, who produced the Netflix series “Halston,” based on the designer’s life, told Vogue, “The tragedy of Halston was that he died pretty much alone. He was with his family, but he felt sort of exiled not just from the fashion world but from the entire world. … He bought a Rolls-Royce convertible and he had a driver, and he just went up and down the Pacific Coast Highway—for the first time in his life being inspired and not having to translate that inspiration into a collection.”
Once he was hospitalized, Halston spent his final days at a hospital 90 minutes from his siblings’ homes. According to an excerpt from the Stephen Gaines book “Simply Halston: The Untold Story,” even just before his death, the designer’s hospital attire was a stylish red Halston robe. He died in a hospital room that had a view of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.
Upon Halston’s death, his brother revealed the designer requested that his beloved $300,000 Rolls-Royce be auctioned off, with the proceeds going to AIDS research, the Associated Press reported.
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