May 03, 2013

Halston and Steve Rubell

Halston and Steve Rubell

Once we sat down, Halston was at the top table with Bosie, Steve Rubell, and Princess Margaret. I was later told that the situation was uncomfortable to say the least—downright catastrophic would be more to the point—as Halston was ludicrously polite and inane when not on coke, whereas Rubell was bored, drunk, and falling asleep. He signaled to Halston for the coke and got a furious look in return. After an interminable minute or two he again made the sign and got a loud “Never!” back. That’s when he decided to take the bull by the you-know-what, slipped underneath the table, grabbed Halston’s leg, and bit the calf hard enough to make it bleed. As Halston jumped writhing in agony, he dumped sauce all over Princess Margaret’s dress, evoking a scream of horror from her and these exact words: “Look what you’ve done to my best dress. You’ve ruined it.” Gallant to a fault, Halston immediately offered “two of my latest originals by tomorrow morning.”

“I will hold you to that,” said the unselfish, disinterested royal.

End of story, but yet again, not quite.

Bright and early the next day Halston, carrying two of his original creations that cost thousands, got into his stretch limo, a rarity in London back then. His mistake was that he asked Bianca Jagger, a Studio 54 fixture, to go along with him, thinking probably that Princess Margaret might like to meet the Nicaraguan party girl and social climber par excellence. But upon pulling up at Kensington Palace, a stiff-upper-lip type told him in no uncertain terms that the Princess was expecting only one person. So Halston fished into his pocket and threw all the cash he had at la Jagger’s way and ordered his driver to take her shopping. “Come back in an hour or so,” he said.

After Halston was ushered in, another stiff-upper-lip type walked up to him, extracted the beautifully wrapped dresses from his grasp, thanked him on behalf of the princess, and showed him to the door. Poor Halston had been inside KP for less than 30 seconds.

The rest I’m making up because there are no witnesses. The poor wretch had to walk or stand in front of KP because there was no way to reach the driver—the cellphone, the greatest disaster as far as peace is concerned, was not yet invented—and he had no way of knowing where the profligate Bianca had gone. What he didn’t want was for her to return to KP and find out that he had been ushered out almost immediately. So he had to stand there, all dressed-up with nowhere to go.

When I was told the story of the bite—I was at another table—my only question was whether Halston gave up the coke. “He had to. Steve wouldn’t let go,” said Bosie. Apparently things got hunky-dory after that. Steve and Halston lived approximately another ten years. I got along fine with Rubell; Halston I hardly knew. The Jagger woman is now on to another scam—human rights—and thank God neither of us ever liked each other.

Finally, end of story.



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