Ultrasuede: In Search Of Halston

1 h 33 min201216+
A Tribeca Film. A portrait of the rise and fall of America's first celebrity designer--Halston. Interviews with Liza Minnelli, Diane Von Furstenberg, Billy Joel & others round out the story of a man who defined beauty & fashion in the 70's.
Whitney Sulder-Smith
Liza MinnelliDiane Von FurstenbergAndré Leon Talley
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Billy Joel
Mark UrmanShawn SimonTim MaloneyNicholas Simon
Tribeca Film
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4.1 out of 5 stars

255 global ratings

  1. 62% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 15% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 8% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 4% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 11% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

M. MaraReviewed in the United States on May 10, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Run away from this film!
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Someone whose only qualification for making a documentary on the great Halston is the fact that they love anything that has to do with th 70s should not have made this film. He knows NOTHING about design so can't ask the right (or any) questions to people that you will be shocked to see. I don't know how he got in the same room with these stars to do pointless conversations where he ask nothing because he doesn't know what he is doing. I'm not sure he realizes the opportunity he had to make a brilliant documentary on an amazing designer. His only reason for making this film in the first place is that he loves the 70s (though to him, someone who wasn't around at the time, the 70s seem to just consist of Burt Reynolds and Smokey And The Bandit. I wish I was joking). Halston deserves a great documentary! This isn't it.
12 people found this helpful
Mikeyfreshh Reviewed in the United States on April 8, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
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A WASTE OF SO MUCH: Whitney is the random, uninformed, disrespectful oddball who "directed" and inserts himself into this unfortunate, mostly tragic and unwatchable doc. After Whitney's cell rings during his interview, Andre Leon Talley cleverly points out that this weirdo apparently did no research on Halston nor fashion nor the credible subjects who wasted their time with him, including Liza, Pat Cleveland, Anjelica Huston, Andre Leon and more. Whitney calls himself a fan of the 70's , yet he misidentifies key personalities (Cybil Shepherd for Marisa Berentsen and more) and most stunningly of all, misses a rare and remarkable opportunity to profile a fashion icon. SHAME ON YOU.
9 people found this helpful
Alexis ChopinReviewed in the United States on June 20, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
Disappointing....bad job start to finish
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Very disappointing. Wonderful opportunity missed from start to finish. The director / producer Whitney Sulder-Smith... uninformed, a terrible interviewer who had a desperate need to continuously make documentary all about HIMSELF instead of Halston. Important people to interview and his incompetence ruined each and every opportunity. Poorly edited....with some parts making no sense at all. Documentary not focused on evolution of brilliant career of genius Halston but on overblown, self-serving ego of Sulder-Smith....and he is an incredible bore!
13 people found this helpful
Georgeanne L DeaneReviewed in the United States on November 11, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Insulting to Halston’s historical importance
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I never do this but here it is. THE ONLY REASON this un-informed medium-handsome “Dude” gets to talk to any of the people he’s interviewing - who’s importance he clearly never bothered to research before taking their time - is because Halston himself was so important. The interviewer is merely being tolerated for the sake of the subject which a lot of us are hungry for. He is tolerated by Liza, tolerated by Talley (who can sense Elsa Peretti won’t waste the air on this) and tolerated some more. It’s insulting to dedicate this little energy to someone with incalculable importance. You should have to be more than kind of average looking to get people to share information with you but here is proof it’s not. I am BUMMED. The information I did strain to hear between interrupted interviews was easily found elsewhere. Liza Minnelli could sense this kid was way out of his depth and had the grace to recommend a direction of information - which he clearly didn’t take. This sounds like an 8th grade book report. Watch anything else if you care about fashion and names like “Diana Vreeland” don’t confuse you.
5 people found this helpful
E. BradburyReviewed in the United States on April 21, 2015
1.0 out of 5 stars
Is a zero star rating possible?
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I wanted to view this film after reading that the producer of Ultrasuede had strongly (and wrongly) inserted himself into the storyline. I was curious as to how he tried to manage a sense of objectivity but in reality the whole movie comes down to being solely about his own confused, narcissistic life, not Halston's. And it is a bizarre approach given that his likability quotient from the get go is pretty much zero stars. It helps a little that Sudler-Smith shows early on that he is from a very wealthy family in Charleston where as a child, according to his mother, watching Smokey and The Bandit re-runs nourished his precocious interest in fashion. It also explains why there seems to be no budgetary restraints in place during production and post-production. I picture an immaculate cutting room floor. As for pre-production costs it appears that no money was spent in this phase since Sudler-Smith is perpetually clueless when it comes to the what is supposed to be the subject of his movie. The many famous people he interviewed were likely lined up through the Charleston matriarch connection but boy were they lined up! Lots of famous faces. But he goes into the interviews so ill informed that the interviewees, such as Liza Minnelli, must correct and inform him regarding the most basic aspects of Halston's life. It's as if Sudler-Smith's research had consisted of hearing over a couple of drinks that the 1970s in NYC was a fun decade and whoo hoo Studio 54. Me like sex, drugs and disco music! Look at me!!
One could try to label the movie as a self serving ironic camp comedy but given Sudler-Smith's "Dixie" ring tone and the confederate flag on the license plate of his car that he zoom-zooms around NYC, it's difficult to see any aspect of this person as funny - or acceptable.
Perhaps one star is deserved for the tour of Halston's NYC house. Not worth the 2 dollar rental fee though.
A startling moment that allows Sudler-Smith's arrogance and questionable character to brightly shine through is when he walks through the doors of the offices of Vogue Magazine and mumbles with a smile that he prefers Teen Vogue. Sudler-Smith is in his mid to late 40s. Just wonder how he felt okay about making a mockery out of Halston.
31 people found this helpful
MarciGReviewed in the United States on June 8, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Completely dissappointing!!!
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This documentary does not deserve to exist! Please remove it from Amazon and everywhere in the known universe where it might raise it's ugly head. The title is very captivating, because I love me some ultrasuede and 70's flare a la Halston, but that is where it ends for me. I really tried to be patient but gave up in disgust about midway. What a self indulgent waste and complete disservice to the great American designer. It is clear that the interviews that were granted in the making of this film were a direct result of favors being called in by influential connections. This is why nepotism sucks! The interviewees seem so insulted by the casual lack of respect for Halston and everything he represented. What a missed opportunity. Sad.
3 people found this helpful
Khristine JacksonReviewed in the United States on September 3, 2020
3.0 out of 5 stars
... NO shade ...ladies please !!
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I had seen this before on Ntflx and I decided to give it a spin once more. Halston was a King of fashion for his era.. I slightly recall his presence on this planet. I certainly remember the "J.C.Penney" catalogs with his perfume and some varied fashions... He really was ahead of his time due to licensing and he just saw dollar signs which made his empire crumble.. Lastly he will always be remembered as a victim to HIV/AIDS from the 1980's. When it came to business he wasn't like Oscar de la Renta, Calvin Klein or Ralph Lauren.. he didn't plan for the long term which would have kept his "brand" catering to the base... ($$$$) . His legacy should be properly handled in container's and NOT boxes.. Lastly the reviewer's trashing the young... who was involved in this docu...should quietly stay ..mum..! Atleast someone took the time to explore someone from a by gone era.. With this being 2020..How many Halston devotee's are there nowadays..? It's better than most ...but not the greatest.. Liza is classic ...Angelica is priceless and Diane Von F... is gold ..! I can only imagine what his life would have been like had he not died ...
2 people found this helpful
LBNReviewed in the United States on April 30, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Thoroughly enjoyed this documentary.
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Glad I wasn't put off by other reviewers. Decided to give it a go and was dialed in the entire time. Many reviewers mention that the director inserts himself too much into the film...I disagree. He begins by stating how and why he's been interested in Halston from a young age, so its HIS journey into finding out more about the designer. Makes sense that he would be included as its from his point of view. All around good watch if you are interested in learning more about Halston and what was going on with him, his life and NYC in the 70's. Thoroughly enjoyed the interviews with his friends and colleagues. Halston had an excellent eye for design and fabric, his clothing is timeless. Was fascinating to learn more about the man behind the designs.
7 people found this helpful
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