It’s that time of year again, the time of year when friend Sophie’s email goes out to notify, or warn everyone of her forthcoming birthday. It’s a notification to keep the date free until she’s had time to design, redesign and angst over her invitation. It’s also a notification to those close to her that the birthday countdown has begun and we should expect questions about glitter balls, playlists and costumes on a regular basis (much like the year before and the year before that).
Because make no mistake, where there is a party organised by Sophie, there will be a theme and this year’s theme is Studio 54. Cue massive groan from my boyfriend who would rather pick his own eyebrows out hair by hair than go to a party in fancy dress. With a fortnight to go, boyfriend is nudged by email about the playlist which Sophie has been compiling. She is needing more tunes and is asking those she deems in the know (although Sophie herself is well qualified having worked in the music industry) for suggestions.
Boyfriend pauses his eyebrow attack long enough to respond that Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ isn’t actually as good as the full 17 minutes of Donna Summer’s ‘Love to Love You’. At this point I decide not to engage in this email thread despite being copied in and poised to remark upon the omission of Kylie and Jason’s ‘Especially For You’ which went down a storm (with me mostly) last year. Although last year’s party had an ’80s theme you may recall so Kylie and Jason were worthy candidates.
But with a week to go have we decided on our outfits? No we haven’t. And yet the Studio 54 look lends itself perfectly to the jumpsuited, one-shouldered, ‘free the nipple’ times we live in currently. That’s the problem, there’s just too much choice and since I really shouldn’t be buying any more clothes, the procrastination is saving me money. Every cloud and all that. So far I have unearthed a hat, a sequin jacket and a feathery jacket in my wardrobe, all of which I am ashamed to say have never been worn and still have the tags in. All very Studio 54 and with the addition of a fabulous pair of knickers, the perfect outfit. But I don’t have the nerve to turn up in just knickers and a hat so it’s back to the drawing board.
Studio 54 opened in New York in 1977 and played host to the likes of Andy Warhol, Jerry Hall, Mick and Bianca Jagger, Diane von Furstenberg and Grace Jones. It was the home of glamorous excess and where turning up on a horse, or yes, in just your knickers might get you past the notoriously tough door policy but was only groundbreaking until the next outrageous act. I think Sophie would rather I turned up starkers than ride a horse over her new flooring but I’ll probably hedge my bets anyway with one of the many jumpsuits around .
Meanwhile the boyfriend is refusing to discuss costumes preferring to rely on the dodgy grey wig he wore last year to accessorise his ’80s tracksuit. The look was inadvertently Jimmy Savile and could probably double up as Andy Warhol.
Let’s face it, anything went at Studio 54 as long as it was fabulous. A flick through the pictures of the rich and famous partying there show a love of metallics and an aversion to the bra. Perhaps those in need of support stayed at home because the plunging, tight and sheer garments of the time certainly did not lend themselves to a big bust. Sophie and I have spent many an afternoon throughout our adult life considering this particular sartorial problem and there simply is no solution other than to let it all hang out. You could wear some eye catching shoes and a jaw dropping necklace and hope that no-one notices what’s going on in the middle I suppose. Back in the day, I suspect everyone was so out of it they genuinely didn’t notice.
In reality we could kit ourselves out at H&M for under £50 and at the end of it all have an outfit that would work just as nicely on Christmas Day. But there’s something about Studio 54 that evokes scandal and bad behaviour and well, perhaps head to toe lycra from the high street won’t quite cut it. So it’s great timing that The Outnet, that mecca for cut price designer wear, suddenly has a wealth of Diane von Furstenberg stuff. She who went to Studio 54 on the arm of Andy Warhol himself! It’s a bit more wonga but not much for authenticity that is almost too good to be true.
Right, I’m off to tong my hair, dig out green eye shadow and get started on some pec exercises. If anyone knows where Sophie can get her hands on a glitter ball please let me know so next year she has more time to spend worrying about the playlist.