The iconic epicentre of the 1970s was not only a place of gathering for the most beautiful and famous celebrities in the world, but also the den of excess of pretty much everything, including fabulous costumes and style. The 70s hot spot opened its door to stars like Diana Ross, Barbara Streisand, Michael Jackson and many more which is the reason why we wanted to take a look at what the club changed in the night-scene culture, and fashion.
With the recent release of the Studio 54 documentary, which takes a look at the club’s years of fame, we’ve decided to give homage to a place which symbolises a whole era of music, fashion and culture. Studio 54 was a former nightclub located in New York City and is currently a Broadway theatre. The building was originally built as the Gallo Opera House which opened in 1927 but changed its names a few times before becoming a TV studio.
The nightclub founders and businessmen, Steve Rubelle and Ian Schrager saw the opportunity to open a VIP nightclub in the 1970s, with the peak of disco music. But they decided to spend their money on professional lighting and theatrical sets to make the club unique and special but most specifically: for important people. The growth of disco music undoubtedly is the reason as to why the club became so successful right away, along with the economic situation of New York in the 70s, and massive drug-scene.
The club’s heydays only lasted about three years, between 1977 and 1980 and the reason why the club’s reign was so short lived was not only because of the out of control parties that would happen on the dance floor but because the founders were convicted of tax evasion of nearly $2.5 million in unreported income.
“New York was electric at the time,” says the fashion designer Norma Kamali, who was living with Schrager as Studio 54 took off. “Not because of Studio, but because New York was basically bankrupt and so anyone from anywhere in the US felt safe [arriving] – especially if you were gay, or you were uncomfortable in your hometown, because you could disappear there. You could also afford to live there, because everyone was afraid of it and was leaving. It was testy and it wasn’t safe, but the feminist movement, female freedom, being gay – it all came together and the creative energy was extraordinary.”
When we look back at some of the fiercest fashion moments from the nightclub, Bianca Jagger is definitely a photo that comes to mind as she entered the club on a beautiful horse (see below), but the collection of unique and historical photos captured in this club are numerous. Some of the most iconic ones are Diana Ross in a cloud of marabou for example, or Grace Jones in knickers and a blouse, and finally Cher in a sequinned bodystocking! You would almost say a night at Studio 54 would have been today’s Instagram heaven.
The dress code at the club was surely sexual but yet in an indifferent and somewhat lazy kind of way. People were there to dance, move but also lounge around on the banquettes and maybe have deep conversations with their next lover. Diane von Fürstenberg, funnily enough, is said to have come up with her sensational wrap dress at Studio 54, and herself and Kamali famously dressed many attendees at the club.
What you wore to the club was crucial, and while there were no defined rules on attire, the documentary seems to testify that the doormen had their own rules on acceptable clothing.
Studio 54 remains a topic of fascination throughout the generations, commonly described as a playground for celebrities, during a time of freedom, and the founder himself has collated a collection of photograph in his coffee table book Studio 54. Invitations to parties at the club were also elaborate, sent via cupid arrows, jars of confetti and even inflatable hearts.
We absolutely love going through the long database of amazing dance floor photos of our favourite designers, artists, models and many more and believe that the club, although short-lived, completely defined the definition of disco fashion.
What do you think the nightclub has brought to the night-scene and would you agree it’s changed the way we dress to party?
Shop our Studio 54 inspired shopping list below for your next disco night
Featured images via The Guardian
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