Roy Halston Frowick, popularly known as Halston, was one of the most famous American fashion designers of the twentieth century. On April 23, 1932, he was born to James Edward Frowick, an accountant, and Hallie Mae in Des Moines, Iowa. His interest in sewing was kindled by his grandmother, who taught him its intricacies and complexities. Halston later moved to Evansville, Indiana, and enrolled at Benjamin Bosse High School. After graduation, he studied at Indiana University for some time before joining the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Reportedly, Halston was in an on-and-off relationship with the Venezuelan artist Victor Hugo for more than a decade.
However, it is also alleged that he had an affair with Cuban-born fashion and costume designer Luis Estevez. His interest in sewing later blossomed into an extraordinary career in the fashion industry, and he was dubbed as the premier fashion designer of all America by Newsweek. His long, illustrious career not only helped him make powerful friends but also enriched him beyond his wildest imagination. Before we get to his overall wealth, let’s have a detailed overview of his career.
How Did Halston Make His Money?
While studying at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Halston started working as a window dresser to pay his bills. However, he soon managed to open his own hat business and found reasonable success. The unique design of his hats attracted celebrity and media attention which marked the beginning of Halston’s rise to prominence. Just five years after he moved to Chicago, the fashion designer left it for New York to work with European-born designer and milliner Lilly Daché. After working with her and extensively creating connections, he joined the luxury department store, Bergdorf Goodman, as a milliner.
He soon gained recognition in millinery thanks to the innovations that he introduced, and his groundbreaking designs ended up changing the American fashion industry forever. He opened his first boutique in 1968; and soon afterward launched Halston Limited, the ready-to-wear line, which turned out to be a huge success. In the next five years following the launch of his first boutique, he allegedly made $30 million. The American industrialist Norton Simon bought his clothing line for $16 million in 1973.
However, it was just the beginning for Halston as the fragrance for women named after him was launched in 1975, and in just two years, it ended up raking in a mindboggling revenue of $85 million. His acquaintance with Mary Wells Lawrence, the wife of Harding Lawrence, helped him fetch a contract with Braniff International Airways to design costumes for its employees. But, the biggest deal that ever came his way was the reported $1 billion contract with the retail chain J.C. Penney that Halston signed in 1983.
He had expected that it would expand his business further, but quite paradoxically, it led to his downfall as high-end fashion retailers started distancing themselves from Halston. After Esmark Inc. acquired Halston Limited, he could never get back the control he once had at the namesake company. Just a year later, the fashion designer was fired from his own company.
Although he still had some success after that incident, Halston never got back the influence he once used to have in the industry. He found out that he was HIV positive in 1988, and just two years after that, he passed away due to Kaposi’s sarcoma. The legacy of the fashion designer is unquestionable, and his impact on the industry continues to reflect in innumerable ways. His long career helped him earn a significant sum of money, so let’s find out what his net worth was at the time of his passing.
Halston’s Net Worth
Halston’s net worth at the time of his death was estimated to be around $100 million.
Read More: How Did Halston Die?