FEATURE PERFECT: A TALK WITH MICHAEL HALPERN
MORE IS MORE
‘Tis the season to dress up and there’s nothing more high-glam than a dose of sparkle to flash things up during the holidays. But for Michael Halpern, founder and designer of Halpern Studio, “shine, sparkle and shimmer” is a year-round affair. Launched at London Fashion Week for the F/W 2017-18 season, this buzzy new brand is all about unabashed glamour, hyper femininity and over-the-top embellishments infused with a Disco-54-meets-couture-atelier vibe.
Certainly, Halpern’s labor-intensive, Made in England sequin-smothered numbers in tulle, organza and satin, aren’t for the wallflower types. Think more along the lines of Katy Perry, Marion Cotillard, Amal Clooney, Kate Moss, Rita Ora and Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert, all major aficionados.
The past year has been an adrenalin-charged flurry of events for Halpern, one that culminated with the 2017 British Awards honor for British Emerging Talent.
“I had always wanted to complete a Master's at CSM, so after working a few years in New York, I decided to move on to London to do my masters. London is the place where Halpern began and is my home now,” says the designer.
The 29-year old New Yorker who graduated from Parsons School of Design with a BFA in fashion design in 2010, was admitted to the Masters program at Central Saint Martins in London. In between, he cut his teeth at J. Mendel and Oscar de la Renta and is currently a consultant for the Atelier Versace couture collections. The young designer shuttles between London, where he is now based, and Milan for his collaboration with Donatella Versace.
Here, in his words, Halpern offers some insight on his high-octane success story.
What spurred you to enter the fashion world?
My mother's epic stories of the 70's and the women I grew up around.
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Unapologetic hedonistic glamour with a nod to classical couture techniques
How labor-intensive are your clothes?
Each Halpern piece is unique and comes with its own level of complexity. I want to keep experimenting and having fun with the collections as we grow. The entire process from start to finish is so exciting for me and my team. From initial developments to fittings, and ultimately the show; the full process is so exhilarating and new.
Which are the most valuable aspects of your collaboration with Donatella?
Working with Donatella was amazing, I’ve never met someone who has such a laser-focus of her brand – she lives it, she is it. It was such an honor to be in Italy and see how couture works. I loved spending time there, everyone lives in the same area, everyone works together, goes out together every night. Lunch is a proper lunch. The whole experience was amazing and so lovely to be welcomed by such a knowledgeable and nice team.
What is escapism for you?
The world is a little bit gloomy and dark at the moment, so escapism for me is being optimistic, happy and fun, however that happens! I think having an optimistic viewpoint on fashion right now is completely necessary in the world we live in. We need that escapism, and fashion can truly provide it.