Scene: The preview opening event of the Studio 54 Night Magic Exhibit at The Brooklyn Museum curated and designed by Matthew Yokobosky, Senior Curator of Fashion and Material Culture. Above, Legendary Damon, Curator of Culture, viewing exhibit photographs. Feather coat by Adrienne Landau. Notice the iconic “Moon and Spoon” embroidery on the back of the blue jacket from Calvin Klein x Raf Simons collection. That’s Cameron Silver, Fashion Director, Halston Style.
The exhibit was a flashback to the shining memorable days of the glamour, the magic, the thrill, and the disco beat via photography, fashion, drawings, films, illustrations, artifacts, set designs, and music. I could feel the inspiration of Studio 54’s lighting and sets with the design of this exhibit. It’s organized chronologically, starting with popular New York nightclubs from the 1920s to the 1960s, including the Cotton Club and the Peppermint Lounge. The show features fashion designers including Giorgio di Sant’Angelo and Zandra Rhodes; illustrators including Richard Bernstein and Antonio Lopez; and photographers including Roxanne Lowit and Allan Tannenbaum. A stunning exhibit captures the essence of Studio 54. And an instant replay!
It was the Golden Age of going out and Studio 54 was the club in town. The seventies, like the Roaring Twenties, came right after a war, the Vietnam War in this case. And people were ready for cultural changes, in politics, music, fashion, lifestyle, and a new definition of a social society. It was a collective of New York societies. Diversity of all types of beautiful people in many ways, from all backgrounds. The legendary club’s heyday lasted 33 months which opened on April 1977. Revelers included Andy Warhol, Calvin Klein, Diane von Furstenberg, Elizabeth Taylor, Halston, Liza Minnelli, Truman Capote, and Yves Saint Laurent.
The exhibit was on the fifth floor and the party was on the ground floor. Both happened simultaneously. In this post I’m referring to the celebration as the after party.
“Studio 54 wasn’t just about disco—certainly not just about disco music. It was a moment of intense curiosity.” Anthony Haden-Guest.
Scene: Matthew Yokobosky, Senior Curator of Fashion and Material Culture. “Studio 54 has come to represent the visual height of disco-era America — glamorous people in glamorous fashions, surrounded by gleaming lights and glitter, dancing ‘The Hustle’ in an opera house” says Yokobosky. Studio 54 was housed in the former Gallo Opera House and CBS soundstage on West 54th Street.
Scene: Gary Goldenstein and Allison Eden. Allison Eden Studios is one of the country’s leading glass tile suppliers for commercial and residential interior decor. She designs glass mosaic artwork which she channeled into the masks. The new accessory, masks.
Scene: Ariel Krupnik and Richie Williamson. Aerographics (Richie Williamson and Dean Janoff), designed the “Moon and Spoon” sculpture which hung upstage on the dance floor and descended from the ‘sky’ by surprise in a constantly changing environment of sets, lights, and disco beats. Richie is wearing the handmade medallion of the Moon and Spoon created for the exhibit by him and Myra Sheer, Moon and Spoon Company. A total of 18 items were created by them and are sold at the Brooklyn Museum Shop.
To the left is the dress that Pat Cleveland wore on the dance floor during Halston’s disco bash at Studio 54, 1977 which was photographed by Guy Marineau. This image is on a banner on the facade of The Brooklyn Museum.
Scene: Marc Benecke and Myra Sheer, Co-hosts of The Marc and Myra Show on SirusXM Studio 54 Radio. Myra, former Executive Assistant to Studio 54 Co-owner Steve Rubell, and Marc, former Studio 54 Doorman.
Scene: Norma Kamali designs, left back 1979 coat made from actual sleeping bags with woodland patterns, as well as a newer Sleeping Blanket Coat originally designed for André Leon Talley in silver lame. And Zandra Rhodes designs.
Scene: Guests, on the right “I’m wearing Norma Kamali’s new deep v-neck black version of a pant suit that Bianca Jagger wore to Studio 54. The original was in white. I added the mock turtleneck.” He works with Kamali.
Scene: Myra Sheer, Co-host of The Marc and Myra Show on SirusXM Studio 54 Radio, with her goddaughter, Minka Kelly, Actress and Model. Her first starring role was in the NBC drama series Friday Night Lights and she has also appeared in other shows.
Scene: Carmen D’Alessio, former Public Relations for Studio 54, is a public relations star in the nightclub industry who has promoted many nightclubs in the city, from Limelight, Tunnel, Cain, and Plumm.
Scene: Beth King DeVito and me. Behind the velvet rope are a handful of Beth’s, my wife, and my archives. She wore her Maud Frizon’s spectator pumps to Studio 54 a few times. One night she wore one blue and one red, it was a hit that night and the following days. And my Bloomingdale’s Studio 54 Jeans and Thierry Mugler ads.
Scene & Heard: You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) Sylvester, 1978.
Scene: The After Party. Golden Girl on stilts sashaying on the dance floor.
Scene: Robert Fontanelli with candy cigarette. He is an Art Director, Creative Director, Artist, and Collector. He bought the roller disco shirt in 1980 and the record cover in 1981. His sneakers have working wheels that release from inside. “I was just being a ‘character’ that night.”
Scene: Fern Mallis, President of Fern Mallis LLC, and widely credited as the creator of “Fashion Week” in New York City under the auspices of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), where she served as Executive Director for 10 years, with her associate.
Scene: Joshie Jo Armstead, Soul Singer and Songwriter. She began her career singing backing vocals for blues musican Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland before becoming an Ikette in the Ike & Tina Turner Revue in the early 1960s. She also had some success as a solo singer, her biggest hit being A Stone Good Lover in 1968. As a songwriter, Armstead teamed up with Ashford & Simpson. The trio wrote hits for various artists, including Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin.
Scene: Robert Fontanelli in conversation with friends. Here you can see his sneakers with working wheels that release from inside.
Scene and Heard: Beth King DeVito and moi. Beth is wearing a Theory suit, MSGM Milano blouse with mini rhinestones around the neck line, and Ted Muehling earrings. I wore the scarf and the Pan Am belt to Studio 54 during its 33 months of existence. The belt, originally a seat belt on the plane, was purchased at Fiorucci’s, the day time Studio 54, which was right around the corner from Bloomingdale’s when I was fashion art director there. Hat from Barneys by Rod Keenan New York, Tom Ford shirt and pants, BDG jacket, and necklace created by Beth. “So let’s dance, the Last Dance!
Scene: Leaving the event and looking back at the facade of the Brooklyn Museum. Second banner, Guy Marineau’s photograph of Pat Cleveland on the dance floor during Halston’s disco bash at Studio 54, 1977.
This was probably the last event for awhile.
I hope you and your loved ones are safe during these uncertain times. Stay safe and be well. Hold on to your magic. Sending love to all.