INTERVIEW: FASHION EXECUTIVE & FORMER HALSTONETTE CHRIS ROYER

If you've ever seen a Halston ad then you've probably seen Chris Royer, the statuesque blonde that regularly appeared in Halston's fashion adverts, editorials and runway shows. Royer was a top FORD model in the 1970s and has since served as a fashion executive for Revlon, Halston Enterprises, and now the President of CRC, a consulting firm specializing in strategic marketing for fashion and beauty related brands such as Remington, M.A.C. and Betsey Johnson.  Royer also serves as a  consultant, contributor, writer, collector and archivist to major exhibitions of Halston, ranging from the Fashion Institute Museum to the Costume Institute at the MET to the EMP Museum and more.

Chris graciously agreed to speak with us about  her fabulous life as a Halstonette, her museum worthy fashion collection and current role as fashion executive. Learn about her favorite memory of Halston below...

(Image sources)

How did you become a Halstonette

I was one of the Halstonette models and muses from 1972-80s. When I first met Halston in September of 1972, after a very amusing interview, I was hired as a model.

What did it mean to be a Halstonette

It meant that you were brought into his elite inner circle of fashion and glamour. As part of the his creative group, I found the inspiration and design process fascinating as to how Halston thought and rose to stardom.

Can you tell us about your personal Halston vintage collection and what inspired you to collect and archive

For me, the best way I have found to honor Halston is by supporting exhibitions, books and documentaries, that tell his  unique story. So when’s there is an exhibition I contribute, if there’s a book, I’ll write write an essay and/or contribute photos.

You might consider me a "Fashion Nerd", because during my time modeling, I was constantly documenting everywhere we went, whom we met, Halston’s inspirations and more. In my personal collection of vintage Halston in New York, I have 200 pieces of clothing, accessories, shoes, photos and sketches. Many pieces are one of a kind, made to order, samples, etc.

Several years ago, I was the Archivist for the Halston Heritage vintage collection, working with their team to assemble 300 Halston pieces, designs and accessories. It’s currently housed with the Halston Heritage company.

Halston and the Halstonettes were synonymous with Studio 54.  I can’t think of anything that exists today that’s even remotely comparable to its popularity. What made Studio 54 so appealing and iconic

It was a special moment when fashion, music, entertainment all came together and where everything was over the top and glamorous.

How did you transition from model to Design Director of Halston Enterprises and now President of your own consulting firm

I graduated from the Pratt Institute  in New York, with a BA in Design degree before I started modeling. It was my dream to be in the business of the fashion industry and working alongside Halston was like getting your MBA in fashion. Because of my background in design, Halston gave me the opportunity to work along side him and was an amazing mentor. When new opportunities in business arose, Halston was my biggest advocate and because of that, I was lucky enough to have an amazing career.

Why do you think today’s fashion industry is so obsessed with or nostalgic for the “Halston hay day?”  Many collections and editorial spreads seem to be influenced by that era…

It was a time when everyone had fabulous style, that was all their own. Whether they were an artist, designer, musician, they all had this distinctive look,  that made them unique.

You regularly contribute to exhibitions, books, events and brands.  Is there a favorite project you’ve worked on or something your particularly proud of

One of my proudest projects is contributing essays and photos to the book and exhibition: Halston & Warhol: Silver & Suede, this year. The book has a great chronology, showing Andy’s artwork  & Halston’s design, it features selected pieces from my personal collection.

Do you have any projects in the works that you’d like to share

Lots of exciting things coming in 2015 – stay tuned!

Do you have a favorite memory of Halston

We were all travelling on an international trip with Halston and everyone had been so busy, I literally forgot about my own birthday.  We were in Paris and I decided that I would go exploring. I spent the entire day walking, shopping and eating. That evening, I walk through the doors of our hotel only to run into Halston’s assistant, who had apparently spent the day trying to find me – this was well before there were cell phones!

She tells me, that there is an important dinner that everyone has to attend and that I was extremely late. So I quickly run upstairs, change and go to the restaurant. I walk in and there’s the entire Halston crew for yelling “SURPRISE” and then out comes Halston carrying the biggest chocolate cake, that I have ever seen, singing “Happy Birthday”! – It was such a great party, we all danced until the sun came up. Best birthday party ever!