Tortoise Strolls

Archive for February 2012

101 E. 63rd St. (Halston’s townhouse)

leave a comment »

This townhouse was once the home of the legendary fashion designer Roy H. Frowick, better known as Halston. It is now being sold by the estate of the late photographer Gunter Sachs, for a mere $38.5 million. Any takers?

A carriage house built in 1880 once stood on these grounds. The architect Paul Rudolph was hired by the real estate lawyer Alexander Hirsch and his partner Lewis Turner, to do a complete renovation. In a sense what Rudolph really did was build a new townhouse without there being any landmark official to stop him. The new townhouse was finished in 1967 but its fame would come in 1974 when Halston purchased it. He would own it until 1990, the year he died.

Photo of Halston: By Bob Colacello

Photo of Halston with Bianca Jagger: by Ron Galella

Halston was born in 1932 in Des Moines, Iowa. He lived in Indiana as a youth where he graduated from high school. After just a semester at Indiana University, he packed up his bags and headed to Chicago where he originally got his start assisting a milliner and taking night classes at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. His fame would come in New York after he designed the pillbox hat that Jacqueline Kennedy wore to her husband’s 1961 Presidential inauguration. From then on everyone knew who Halston was especially the jet set crowd that came to his house parties. From Mikhail Baryshnikov to Liza Minnelli, Fred Hughes, Diane Von Furstenberg, Truman Capote, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Bianca Jagger, Gianni Agnelli, the list goes on and on. Steve Rubell would leave behind Studio 54 and come to Halston’s parties along with a few of his bartenders, aka the coke boys.

Known simply as “101”, Halston’s townhouse definitely stood out on E. 63rd Street, but it was never an eye sore. Rather, it knew how to blend in. I’ve walked by this townhouse many times never noticing it. I’m glad I now know its story. But there’s a bit more.  Halston sold it in 1990, two months before his death to Gunter Sachs and Gianni Agnelli who bought it together. No they were not romantically involved, in fact Gunter Sachs was Brigitte Bardot’s third husband and Gianni, well he definitely liked women. Gunter and Gianni probably thought it was a  good business opportunity to do together. The price paid in 1990 was $5 million. Gunter quickly bought Gianni out and owned it solely until his recent death in May 2011. His estate is now trying to sell it for $38.5 million. With a three story living room, 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths and 10,000 square feet, most of it great entertaining space, this town-home seems like it might sell to a very wealthy bachelor.

Written by agnesbstanton

February 16, 2012 at 10:43 pm