- In “Halston,” Ewan McGregor plays the iconic fashion designer Roy Frowick Halston.
- Insider spoke to costume designer Jeriana San Juan about their working relationship.
- “He could be a great designer, actually. For real,” San Juan said of McGregor.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Ewan McGregor is a man of many talents. Jedi Knight, poet, ghost writer, colorful super-villain, enchanted singing candelabra, and, now, a fashion designer.
It turns out his last role is a little more literal. Taking on the role of iconic fashion designer Halston in Netflix’s new five-part miniseries, McGregor dove in to the role of the legendary designer and even learned how to sew for the show.
Insider spoke to Jeriana San Juan, designer of the fabulous costumes in “Halston,” about her work on the series and it just so happens that McGregor’s commitment to the role goes far beyond a few sewing lessons.
“He really did master the craft,” San Juan said of McGregor’s eventual level of expertise with a needle and thread.
“He had a sewing machine in his hotel room and he made his own trousers that he sent me photos of that I was very impressed by, barring the fact that he had sewn one pocket on the outside of the pants by accident,” the stylist recalled. “But the style of them was very cool and I actually could see it as very deconstructionist kind of chic.”
“He could be a great designer, actually. For real.”It should be no surprise that McGregor and San Juan developed an amazing working relationship, as the partnership between the two collaborators seems, in retrospect, the most important of the entire show.
“Halston” is filled with scenes of McGregor as the fashion mogul designing outfits, cutting fabrics, dressing his clients (like Liza Minnelli, played by Krysta Rodriguez), and generally handling material in a way that needed to be convincing.
Luckily, McGregor and San Juan’s work behind the scenes meant that everything in front of the camera felt as authentic and genuine as if you were watching Halston himself at work rather than an actor playing a designer.
Before shooting the series, San Juan said she showed mock ups of her proposed costumes to McGregor.
“It was like presenting Halston’s collection to Halston,” she said of the experience. “I think that will be one of the things I tell my grandchildren.”
San Juan said that it helped that the actor has “great style” to begin with.
“He would come into the fitting and I would want to take a little sartorial snapshot of him because he always dressed so cute,” the designer told Insider.
“He loves style,” San Juan said, adding that the two would “geek out” about little vintage shops to frequent in Brooklyn, where the series was shot.
The two really bonded during fittings when McGregor would admire San Juan’s talent at designing costumes and learned to develop his own tailorimg skills, too.
“Our working relationship started in the fitting room. I had prepped his entire journey and we started trying on things and fitting samples and doing all of the necessary work to costume him. And then in that process, he was starting to comment on watching me work, whether I was referencing his image in the mirror or whether I was coming through the racks and how I move through the room or how I would pin something,” San Juan recalled.
“I think he was taking some mental notes in that moment and starting to comment. He wanted to learn.”
After their fittings, San Juan would take McGregor into her work room and the two would play with different fabrics together, with San Juan teaching the Obi-Wan Kenobi actor about different fabrics, textures, grains, as well as enlightening him to “the beauty of Halston’s work.”
Because the two worked so closely together, San Juan called it “the most unique partnership that I’ve ever had with with a leading actor.”
“We really kind of shared in that experience of learning Halston together,” she added.
While the Emmy’s are a way off, you can be sure San Juan will be in the mix for her costumes, while McGregor has a great shot, too, to earn a nomination for his transformative turn.
In the meantime, however, McGregor may just have to settle for a different kind of reward: He may or may not have got to keep a few items of clothing from the show.
“I don’t know if I let him get away with some trousers,” San Juan joked. “He may have walked off the back of the truck with a few things.”