Ultrasuede was a fabric created by Halston, the designer who dressed Jackie Kennedy in the ’60s, dominated ’70s style, ruled Studio 54 with his friend Liza Minnelli and sold out to JC Penney before dying of Aids in 1990. It’s a classic ‘death of disco’ story, and dilettantish director-presenter Whitney Sudler-Smith can’t decide if it’s important or not. Sudler-Smith steals attention by sporting a different hairstyle in most scenes and claims to be obsessed by ’70s style. Yet he appears to know little and looks oddly at interviewees to suggest they’re talking rubbish. This is fashion, of course, so many of them might be, but luckily Halston led a life colourful enough to intrigue, and Sudler-Smith gathers ample footage. Still, the film is poorly structured, and most of Sudler-Smith’s conclusions are trite.
Friday September 23 2011