Michael Halpern, a London-based New Yorker, built his brand around a vision of extreme glamour — one where sequin polo necks and high-waisted disco pants are wardrobe staples.
An antidote to the minimalism that reigned strong during Phoebe Philo’s Celine days, Halpern’s high-shine collections took the industry by storm, with everyone from Net-a-porter’s Elizabeth von der Goltz to Browns’ Holli Rogers looking to secure exclusives, while actresses including Marion Cotillard have enlisted the designer to dress them for the Cannes Film Festival red carpet.
A few months after graduating from Central Saint Martins, Halpern was already receiving orders from the likes of Bergdorf Goodman, Maxfield and Matchesfashion.com, making his first London Fashion Week show in February 2017 one of the hottest tickets from the get-go.
Just two years later and with an emerging talent award from the British Fashion Council under his belt, Halpern has gone on to partner with Net-a-porter and Browns on exclusive capsules. He has also joined with Christian Louboutin to translate his sparkly creations onto dazzling knee-high boots and more recently scored a Topshop collaboration that allowed the brand to reach a younger audience.
Halpern pieces, which range from zebra-print sequin pants, to sparkly gold minidresses and multicolor sequin polo necks, may be all about youth and fun, but they don’t come cheap. Prices range from 850 pounds for a top to 2,800 pounds for a jumpsuit. It’s clearly the designer’s sense of escapism that’s been resonating with so many luxury customers, including self-proclaimed minimalists.
“It’s a reaction to what’s happening now in Europe and America,” Halpern said of his embrace of sparkle. “You have this escapism to cope with everything — it’s sort of a young brand’s reaction to how scary things are right now. People want to be exuberant and happy and loud.”