At Studio 54 Night Magic

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 YokoboskyStudio 54 was housed in the former Gallo Opera House and CBS soundstage on West 54th Street.

Scene: Zandra Rhodes, Giorgio di Sant’ Angelo, and Kenny Bonavitacola designs. The purple blouse was worn by Kevin, Studio 54 Legend. Backdrop photo by Dustin Pittman.

Scene: David Barton, Fitness Legend who founded David Barton Gym, Susanne Bartsch, Event Producer and Queen of New York Nightlife, and friend.

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: Dustin Pittman, Photographer, taking a snap with cell phone of Legendary Damon, Curator of Culture.

Scene: Halston designs.

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: Lovely silver hair guest wearing blues and blacks.

Scene: Nancy and Doug Fraser.

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: Guests entering the exhibit.

Scene: CT Hedden, Model with BMG Models, Talent at Zand Wagon, and Host. What a wonder!

Scene: Walking through the galleries to the exhibit.

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: Allison Eden, Mosaic Glass Artist, and Elijah Vielma, Stylist.

Scene: Mary Anna Smith, Custom Milliner, The Tipsy Topper.

Scene: Alva Chinn, Model, Halstonette, and Yoga Teacher, with friend.

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: Dustin Pittman, Photographer, and friend standing in front of a video recreation of the dance floor and stage effects of Studio 54 by Richie Williamson.

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: Sequins, python, and gold.

Scene: CT Hedden, Model with BMG Models, Talent at Zand Wagon, and Host, wearing custom hair by Jeffrey Kelly Designs and Wig Chapel shoes; and Snoogy Brown, Studio 54 Legend.

Scene: Guests looking at Ron Galella photograph of Grace Jones performance at Studio 54, New Year’s Eve 1977-78.

Scene: Black, grey, blue, silver, necklaces, and brooches with Halston designs in the background.

Scene: Guests waiting for the elevator to go to the exhibit.

Scene: Interview Magazine cover art and photographic references. Richard Bernstein, Artist, was the cover artist for nearly 20 years.

Scene: Vanna Duex.

Scene: Moving through the exhibit.

Scene: In between exhibits.

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: Marc Benecke, Joshie Jo Armstead, and Myra Sheer whose Studio 54 Jeans are in the exhibit.

Scene: Rose Hartman’s photograph of Bianca Jagger, May 1977. Fashion designer Halston threw her 30th birthday party at Studio 54. At the time Bianca was married to Rolling Stones frontman, Mick Jagger. Jagger and Halston were both close friends and fixtures of Studio 54, with the designer often dressing her in his iconic pieces that were the epitome of pared down glamour. Bianca, who was wearing Manolo Blahnik heels and a Halston gown, was led around the night club on horseback by a nude male covered in glitter. This image might be one of the most memorable shots ever taken at the club. © Rose Hartman

Scene & Heard: You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) Sylvester, 1978.

Scene: Dustin Pittman’s photograph “Stroke of Midnight at Studio 54, 1978–79” which was captured at the New Year’s Eve party at the nightclub. Beth and I were there! ©Dustin Pittman

Scene: The After Party. Golden Girl on stilts sashaying on the dance floor.

Scene: Matthew Yokobosky, Senior Curator of Fashion and Material Culture.

Scene: Rose Hartman, Photographer, and friend.

Scene: TK Wonder in sliver and white in front of a gold streamer circular column. Some guests would enter them and have private mini moments with cocktails and conversations.

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: Dancer who was part of the entertainment group.

Scene: Legendary Damon, Curator of Culture.

Scene: Bartenders at the after party, with gloves. The new normal.

Scene: L.J. Kirby, former Studio 54 Bartender. His Studio 54 liquor license is in the exhibit.

Scene: Mikel Kilgour, Artist and Fashion Designer. “I had a showroom underneath Willi Smith’s showroom in the 80s and boutique ateliers in Short Hills and Beverly Hills.”

Scene: Golden Girl and Golden Guy dancing.

Scene: Guests enjoying the moment.

Scene: Jean of Idiosyncratic Fashionista, half of the dynamic duo. Valerie is the other half.

Scene: Robert Fontanelli in conversation with friends. Here you can see his sneakers with working wheels that release from inside.

Scene: Guest gazing over her shoulder.

Scene: Antyon LeMonte with a great smile.

Scene: Prints and texture.

Scene: Purple, greens, and shimmer.

Scene: Nikki Kynard, DJ.

Scene: Elijah Vielma, Stylist, wearing a Versace silk jacket.

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.

Scene: Farewell, Night Magic.

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.