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How Halston’s Cast of Characters Stack Up To Their Real-Life Counterparts

From Ewan McGregor as the titular designer to Krysta Rodriguez as Liza Minnelli, the show's filled with doppelgängers.

A still from Netflix's limited series 'Halston.'
Atsushi Nishijima/Courtesy Of Netflix

The new Netflix limited series Halston stars Ewan McGregor as the mononymous designer who defined ’70s and ’80s women’s fashion — a man known both for his work and his extravagant social life. If you’re not familiar with him, you absolutely know his designs, from Jackie Kennedy’s iconic pillbox hat to his “evening caftans.” The five-part series aims for historical accuracy and includes a number of real-life figures who witnessed — and in some cases, brought about — Halston’s legendary rise and fall.

It’s also very visually accurate: the cast includes several actors who, with the help of some expert makeup and costuming, look almost exactly like the people they’re playing. The acting is also spot-on — to the point where people who knew the real Halston, like André Leon Talley, say that McGregor absolutely pulls off the portrayal. The actor said that he felt totally immersed in the character: “There were just little moments ... Oh, that was him.’ There was, like, a little curse, an eye roll...” Below, learn more about the key characters in the miniseries, the actors who brought them to life, and the real people they portrayed.

Ewan McGregor As Halston

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Considered one of the greatest American designers of all time, Halston (born Roy Halston Frowick) worked with some of the most famous public figures of the time, from Elizabeth Taylor to Greta Garbo and Raquel Welch. (As Halston himself said, “You’re only as good as the people you dress.”) For his part, Ewan McGregor’s an acting legend, probably most well-known for his roles in Star Wars and Moulin Rouge! The actor said he had to work with Halston’s costume designer and cinematographer to appear taller — the real designer was 6’2”.

Krysta Rodriguez As Liza Minnelli

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Singer, dancer, and actor Liza Minnelli became close friends with Halston, and she even sang at one of his runway shows. Playing her is singer and actor Krysta Rodriguez, who’s had roles in Smash, Quantico, and Daybreak (and absolutely nailed Minnelli’s signature look). “One of the things I respect so much about her was she was a feminist, and was very in touch with her body and her messiness,” Rodriguez said of playing Minnelli. “That was something that wasn’t really seen at that time.”

Rebecca Dayan As Elsa Peretti

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Jewelry designer Elsa Peretti was one of Halston’s muses and a fellow regular at Studio 54. And if the Netflix series is to be believed, she was also in unrequited love with the designer. French actor Rebecca Dayan has also appeared in Tesla, Random Acts of Violence, and The Neon Demon.

Gian Franco Rodriguez As Victor Hugo

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Victor Hugo was Halston’s on-and-off partner for 10 years; he called himself an “art designer” and arranged window displays in Halston’s shops. “Believe me, he wasn’t reading French literature,” Talley said of Hugo. “He was a grifter who clung on like a parasite, like a barnacle on a ship.” Actor and producer Gian Franco Rodriguez portrays Hugo in Halston; he has also appeared in Simón and Safe.

Kelly Bishop As Eleanor Lambert

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Eleanor Lambert, founder of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, identified rising fashion stars and worked as a publicist. A highlight of her career was producing the famed “Battle of Versailles,” a competition between French and American designers shown in Halston. Playing Lambert is Kelly Bishop, who’s also known for her work in Bunheads, Dirty Dancing, and Gilmore Girls.

Rory Culkin As Joel Schumacher

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Joel Schumacher, who would go on to direct The Lost Boys, St. Elmo’s Fire, The Phantom of the Opera, and 8MM, worked and partied with Halston. In fact, he started working on films as a costume designer after his time with Halston. Rory Culkin plays Schumacher in the limited series; the actor has had roles in M. Night Shyamalan's Signs and Scream 4.

David Pittu As Joe Eula

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Fashion illustrator Joe Eula was Halston’s creative director during the designer’s heyday. The two were close confidants; Eula later spoke about Halston’s fall from grace, saying, “He was too removed from the real world. There wasn’t even any air up there in [Halston’s later office building] Olympic Tower. The windows were sealed, and I had a dream of chiseling a hole in one of the windows and sucking the fresh air in out of New Jersey.” Playing Eula is Broadway actor David Pittu, who has also appeared in Men in Black 3 and Damages.

Bill Pullman as David Mahoney

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Then-CEO of conglomerate Norton Simon David Mahoney acquired Halston’s company in 1973 for the (at the time) enormous sum of $8.5 million. You’ve absolutely heard of Bill Pullman, the actor who plays Mahoney in Halston, but just in case: you might recognize him from Independence Day, Spaceballs, and While You Were Sleeping.