Was Whitney Sudler-Smith’s Halston Film Any Good? The ‘Southern Charm’ Star’s Documentary Wasn’t So Charming

The cast members of Southern Charm each has their own personal passions. Thomas loves politics, Cameran loves real-estate, Craig loves (?) law, and Whitney loves filmmaking. One of Whitney Sudler-Smith's largest film projects, Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston , is a documentary that Whitney stars, writes, and directs in, that explores the history of famed fashion designer, Halston. The film was released in 2010, and stars a bevy of famous names in Hollywood and fashion. So was Whitney's Halston film any good?

The film itself doesn't have a stellar rating on sites such as Rotten Tomatoes (coming in at 35 percent "fresh" rating by critics, which is the same as Space Jam, so take that however you see fit). The ratings are slightly higher on Amazon (3.4/5 stars), and IMDB (5.3/10). So basically, I think the general consensus on this film was it was "OK." That is, at least ,what I gather from a range of 30 percent to 68 percent rating of a film.

The film itself is very Whitney-centric. He isn't just the man behind the camera on this documentary. Instead, it's all about Whitney's interest and exploration of Halston as a designer. Why he is so interested in Halston, I don't know, and I don't think Whitney knows. But, if you're looking to watch a documentary that features a lot of Southern Charm's Whitney with some crazy hairstyles — all I'm gong to say is, BLONDE — then Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston, is a great film to check out (currently on Netflix). If you're interested in Halston, check out a book or maybe just read his Wikipedia page... it probably has the same amount of information.

So what did reviewers have to say about about Whitney's Halston film? Let's take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly reviews of Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston.

The Good

This reviewer credits Halston's "incredible" story to the "well-made" documentary.

It's an incredible story, to be sure, and one that is well told in the documentary "Ultrasuede: In Search of Halston." Based on an incredible life story and career, it is almost impossible not to recommend this glimpse back at an icon. His tale is related through interviews, archival footage, and really recaptures the allure of the man and his legend. I am no fashionista and had no particular previous interest in Halston, but I was captivated by the world that "Ultrasuede" transported me to.

This reviewer might or might not be Patricia Altschul (Whitney's mother).

The movie is beautifully crafted, points are illustrated rather than screamed and underlined, and it's up to the viewer to notice and draw conclusions. I loved the way Georgette Mosbacher is shown up for the barbarian she is, for example. I loved the way his friends faces lighted up when they spoke of Halston, and I loved the way the movie showed us the joy and genius of Halston's work, and the sadness of his decline yet it didn't tell us what to think or feel. Angelica Huston's comments were particularly moving, I thought.

The Bad

This reviewer just didn't love Whitney's role in the documentary.

Generally there was fault with the way the information was presented, with almost no research on the subject, the interviews seem haphazardly put together, and the narrator/director is awkward. Clearly this work was conducted by a fledgling who lacks artistic ability or in the least organizational abilities. It is presented in such a blasé manner as if the director was indifferent to the outcome of the footage.

This reviewer enjoyed Halston's life, but not the structure of the film.

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.

The Ugly

This reviewer thinks that a documentary about Smokey the Bear would be more up Whitney's alley.

This was a shallow and ill researched film which featured more of Whitney Smiths vapid egotism than the accomplishments of Halston himself ... Perhaps Mr Smith would have done better to do a documentary about Smokey the Bear.


I gave up watching this poorly edited, poorly researched documentary after 10 minutes. I have no idea why Whitney Smith was so interested in Halston; his mother thinks is because he loved to watch Smokey and the Bear. WHAT??? Like the 10 minutes of this film I could stand, that was bewildering and off-putting.Smith interviews Liza Minelli and tells her she was Halston's only friend at the time he died; she corrects him, and says that Liz Taylor, among others was there. She says she gave Halston his memorial service; Smith asks her what she sang; Liza replies that she didn't sing because the event was about Halston, not her. Couldn't Smith have looked up any newspaper clippings of the event?

Images: Netflix (4)