“It’s fantastic! A married man, air conditioning, champagne and chips! A wonderful party!” With phrases like that, and her white dress with a halter neck over the breathing rails of the New York subway, Marilyn Monroe established herself as the Hollywood sex symbol in Billy Wilder’s film Temptation lives above, in 1955. Much has happened since then. In the next edition of the Biennale di Venezia the biopic of Marilyn Monroe will be presented, Blonde, directed by Andrew Dominik, based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates and starring Ana de Armas. “With married men it is always better. No matter what happens, they will never ask you to marry them.” Wilder was looking for provocation in the middle of the last century, and what better than to have a wardrobe that, at the same time, was super feminine and sexy, but without losing an iota of elegance.
Halter is the Anglo-Saxon term used to refer to the halter or hitch that holds horses or oxen. Thus, the halter neck in fashion refers to dresses, jumpsuits and tops that tie at the back of the neck, revealing the shoulders, collarbones and upper back. The popularity of this neckline came in the seventies of the last century, after passing through Hollywood. It was Roy Halston Frowick, born Iowa, land of ranchers, who popularized this neckline that decades earlier had been invented by the French Madeleine Vionnet.
“You are only as good as the people you dress,” Halston said in an interview collected in the book. Halston: Inventing American Fashion, written by the designer’s niece and confidante, Lesley Frowick. Thus, having gained enormous popularity for the skullcap hat Jackie Kennedy wore when her husband was assassinated in Texas, Halston launched her clothing designs, which quickly became the uniform of Studio 54 in New York, as can be seen in the miniseries Halston, starring Ewan McGregor and released just over a year ago on Netflix. Liza Minelli, Elsa Peretti, Bianca Jagger, Lauren Bacall and even Lady Di immortalized Halston’s dresses with this sexy and powerful pattern.
Versatile and exclusive
“Halston is the first great American designer. It was he who changed the rules of the game by combining European elegance and savoir-faire with the minimalism of the United States. If you pick up a Halston dress it seems very simple at first glance, but if you turn it around you see the mastery of that creation. His clothes were beautifully made ”, explained to ‘Vogue USA’ Tom Ford, the designer who put Gucci back in stardom and former president of the Council of Fashion Designers of the United States.
One of the keys to the success of this neckline is that it has numerous variants, from the version with the front part covered and the back completely bare, to another, very popular this summer, half covered, with part of the front piece closing just under the kidneys. “I hate ties that don’t tie anything, pockets and zippers that don’t close anything, pockets that don’t hold anything, and decorations that don’t do anything.” This was stipulated by Roy Halston, for whom glamor was not at all incompatible with comfort. In this festive and very seventies aspect, we find the halter neck designs from &other stories, in sequins or with a floral print. Giving it an even more baroque key, we find the Dolce & Gabbana proposals.
In a monochrome version, but without giving up a hint of sophistication, there are the proposals by Cyrana and Alfredo Martínez, in silk or taffeta, ideal for weddings and evening parties this spring or from September. Each Martínez piece is made with the utmost delicacy using manual processes and includes details of embroidery or gold spinning on the finishes.
“What makes the halter neckline one of our favorite silhouettes is its ability to adapt to the body allowing freedom of movement while being discreet and revealing at the same time. We are facing an enveloping garment that can take on sports notes, couture airs and even shape a wedding dress”, explain Fabricio Pérez and Jaime Martínez, in charge of Llamazares and Delgado. This Spanish tandem, famous for its timeless and contemporary creations and for the exquisiteness of the fabrics they use, from silk to poplin, cashmere or cambric, signs one of the top halter dresses this season, in embroidered silk tulle with lace appliqués from Valencia, on a silk body and fastened at the neck and back with leather straps like a military harness.
“The halter fascinates us not only in the versions of the great Halston that we see in the photos of Studio 54, but, looking back, we find in Vietnam the Yem that was used as a bra under the blouse or jacket, or in China, the ‘Dudou’ with the same silhouette worn as a bodice. Images of the Amalfi coast in the sixties also come to mind”, they tell us from the firm.
For any silhouette and unisex
Are there garments more flattering than those that leave the back uncovered? As there are different versions, the ‘Halter’ neck is ideal for all types of silhouettes. Whether in dress, jumpsuit or top format, this pattern draws attention to the neckline and shoulders. “If you have a small chest and you want to gain volume in that area, you can opt for a neck tied at the back with loose fabric, which is collected in a high, cinched waist. If, on the other hand, you want to hide your chest, better a halter adjusted to the neck and flowing in the rest of the bust, or with a V shape, which also helps to visually lengthen the neck”, explains Mary Garner, image consultant for the quintessential trend forecasting company, WGSN. Thus we see the difference between the classic proposals of Dior and Sophia Kah, in black and long to the feet, suitable for tall women with a slender body, compared to those of Unflower, which presents a halter top or dress in a more relaxed format. and thought in principle for women with more chest and back.
But there is still more. At the height of unisex fashion, we find men’s halters, as the Catalan designer Victor von Schwarz demonstrates, who has signed garments for ‘celebrities’ such as Aitana, Dulceida, Alba Reche, Ruth Lorenzo, Pol Granch de Elite and Nil Moliner. Also, this sexy and sophisticated neck in equal parts also takes over swimwear. It is, without a doubt, the neckline of this summer.