Business: Couturier's Coup

Halston, né Roy Halston Frowick, is one of high fashion's best designers —and best business minds. Unheard of 15 years ago, he built a custom and ready-to-wear business that will sell $28 million worth of high-priced fashions this year, including thousands of "ultra suede" dresses that go for $220 apiece.

A fortnight ago, Halston made his biggest sale of all. For about $10 million in stock, New York's giant Norton Simon Inc., a $1.5 billion-a-year conglomerate with products ranging from ketchup to cosmetics, acquired Halston's business, his services as a designer and, most...

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