Judith Leiber was born Judith Peto in Budapest, Hungary. In 1938 Leiber was sent to London to study chemistry for cosmetics at King’s College. She returned to Hungary just before the war, obtaining an apprenticeship at a Pessl, a handbag company. She worked there for some time, eventually graduating to master craftswoman and becoming the first woman to have ever joined the Hungarian Handbag Guild in Budapest.
Halston was thrown into the limelight when Jacqueline Kennedy wore his pillbox hat to John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. Soon Halston expanded into women’s wear, creating both couture and ready-to-wear fashion catering to the fashionable and elite jet set. Halston also accepted the honor of designing the 1976 US Olympic team uniforms, redesigned Braniff Airlines’ uniforms in 1977, and created uniforms for the New York Police Department and the Girl Scouts in 1978.
Halston was innovative, using slinky knit material and ultrasuedes, and introducing a halter dress design that elongated a wearer’s silhouette. He pioneered the sensual and soft draped looks associated with disco and his beloved Studio 54.