Famous fraternities have offered artists the perfect pulpit to design fantasy media, says Chris Hall
Caligula throwing a party ,” was how the funk musician Rick James described the famous Studio 54 in New York, which opened in 1977. There was a cocaine snorting” Man and the Spoon” peculiarity that would sink from the ceiling when required, “therere” slews of cash in the back room, unisex showers and stunts like Bianca Jagger riding a pony on the dancefloor led by a naked soldier covered in gold glitter.
The key stuff about Studio 54, which is available in a brand-new show about global sorority culture at Vitra Design Museum, was its adaptability. It could become a different fantasize surrounding to act as backdrop for the outrageous outfits and theatre of the party goers- such as when four tonnes of glitter were lowered from the club’s ceiling on New Year’s Eve or when the fashion designer Valentino had a circus-themed birthday party with sand and mermaids on trapezes.
” The 60 s and 70 s envisioned the rise of the idea that you don’t design a nightclub, you making the negligible motif points to make a nightclub ,” says Catharine Rossi, a pattern historian at Kingston University, who has co-curated the exhibition.” What’s important is not the physical infinite- really the nightclub is just a receptacle. Clubs are made through lighting and sound, psychotropic drugs and people .”
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