A disco mecca and the very symbol of 1970s hedonism – Studio 54 is undoubtedly the most-talked about nightclub in history. Known as the ‘Titanic of nightclubs,’ it was a world where casual sex and drug consumption were expected, and the queer, famous and wonderfully weird were welcomed. 1000 party-goers in the pursuit of pleasure, 54 became a symbol of both openness yet exclusivity, making people queue for hours to gain entry. Of course a club with such a scandalous reputation couldn’t last forever. And as we find ourselves stuck at home, having not been able to go out, out for almost a year, who wouldn’t be intrigued by the sordid anecdotes that contributed to the demise of the party of all parties?
Opened in 1977 by best friends Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager at 254 West 54th Street in New York, Studio 54 was birthed in a time of change. Vietnam was over, Watergate was becoming a memory, Saturday Night Fever had just hit movie theatres, and the I Love New York campaign was about to launch. It was pre AIDS, when New York was experiencing a sexual and social revolution and disco was its soundtrack.
One of 54's most-loved guests was Grace Jones. A notorious fashion model, It-girl and soon-to-be singer/songwriter, she was present from the early days of Studio 54. In her book I'll Never Write My Memoirs, she details the spirit of New York's nightlife at that time. “It was a very small community, New York. The club scene, the art world, the music people, the fashion freaks, the energized, dislocated misfits, the gay spirit and different generations, various tribes with no name, all overlapping and interacting and spiralling off into new shapes… there were the beautiful people, the poseurs, the fantasists, but there were also those with more cerebral urges. It was about the mix of people, all in one place.”
"The club scene, the art world, the music people, the fashion freaks, the gay spirit and different generations, various tribes with no name, all overlapping and interacting..."