Halston on Weinstein's runway


In a bid to diversify its business, the Weinstein Co. has partnered with Hilco Consumer Capital Llc. to acquire the Halston fashion brand.

The Weinstein Co. plans to make a documentary about the fashion icon and feature Halston products in its films and on Bravo's "Project Runway" to revitalize the label.

The Weinstein Co.'s docu plans also signal another case of dueling gay icon movies for production company Killer Films. A Killer executive said its long-delayed and unrelated narrative biopic, "Simply Halston," is now on the front burner of its development slate.

The film might end up competing with the Weinstein Co. project, just as Killer's Truman Capote biopic "Infamous" was delayed a year because of Sony Pictures Classics' 2005 release "Capote."

Killer recently signed a nonexclusive first-look deal with ThinkFilm, but the Halston project was not among those the companies initially discussed.

While studios and networks frequently plug their sister companies' films and TV shows and integrate advertisers' brands into their content, it is rare for an entertainment company to own a consumer brand and market it through its own content. The Weinstein Co., however, is not the first to make such a move. In 1996, New Regency Prods. acquired an equity stake in Puma AG and once Regency cut a deal with Fox Filmed Entertainment for distribution and an investment, Puma products were featured in Fox fare.

"Two years ago, when my brother and I started the Weinstein Co., one key component we were talking to the investors about was finding a name brand to acquire to diversify our company, just like Arnon Milchan did with Regency and Puma," Harvey Weinstein said. "I knew that Halston would be the perfect fit.

"Our company has already had tremendous success turning the hit fashion show 'Project Runway' into a global brand and we see the same potential with Halston," he added. "We are thrilled to be joining this group of investors and advisers to help reinvent one of the greatest brands in fashion history. We believe this innovative partnership furthers the natural connection between the adjacent worlds of entertainment and fashion." Among the fashion leaders who will help structure management and provide creative direction for Halston — best known for designing fashions for the international jet set during the 1960s and '70s, including Jackie Onassis' pillbox hats — is Tamara Mellon, founder-president of Jimmy Choo Ltd. A board of directors has been formed and the investment group is in the process of assembling an advisory board of leading business and fashion figures that will be charged with finding a CEO, lead designer and creative team.

"This acquisition allows the Weinstein Co. to participate in the Halston brand equity upside that will be created by leveraging the collective assets and abilities of our partnership," said John Semel, senior vp business development at the Weinstein Co., who will oversee the partnership on behalf of the studio.

The Halston brand and other assets were acquired from Neema Clothing Ltd., whose founder and principal shareholder is James J. Ammeen.