Studio 54: the Italian Corner

studio 54

“I love the New York that was. The end for me was Studio 54. I don’t go out at night anymore. (Brigid Berlin)”

The thought of Brigid Berlin is a common feeling of many artists, from Andy Warhol to Elizabeth Taylor, regulars in the legendary Studio 54. In the late 70’s the well-known Studio hosted also influential Italian celebrities as Gina Lollobrigida and Elio Fiorucci.

Studio 54

Studio 54.

Studio 54. Photo by Richard Drew

Designed by the Italian architect Eugene De Rosa, Studio 54 was originally built as the Gallo Opera House. In 1977 the theater was converted into a nightclub named Studio 54, placed in the 54th Street in Manhattan, New York City.

Studio 54 has been a club that represented an era and its culture, just in one thousand nights became the most famous fashion place of the twentieth century.

On the dance halls of the famous nightclub performed and enjoyed artists, dancers and writers such as Andy Warhol, Truman Capote and Liza Minnelli. The party-loving atmosphere was a call to the hedonistic approach of the period: in the Big Apple exaggeration was the norm of that age.

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Beyond the cool indoor party, outside another show was performed: each night hundreds of people were waiting to come in. The guests mix had to include 20% of homosexuals and the 5-10% of lesbians and transvestites.

Elio Fiorucci

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Elio Fiorucci, the Italian fashion designer, was commissioned to curate Studio 54’s opening in 1977. The previous year a Fiorucci Store was born in 59th Street in New York, which immediately became a meeting place for the greatest exponents of the intellectual community. Also Andy Warhol chose the shop for the launch of its revolutionary magazine ‘Interview’.

Elio Fiorucci had the merit of combining art and fashion: Fiorucci style became a life-style. The popular logo with the two little angels, pop reinterpretation of a classic image, has gone around the world.

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In 1982 was born the first stretch jeans, tight and seductive for women. It was an aesthetic and lifestyle revolution that attracted the attention of the international jet set.

Gina Lollobrigida

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Gina Lollobrigida, Italian legend of worldwide cinema, attended the reopening of Studio 54 in 1981.

Considered one of the best European actresses in the 50s and 60s, she symbolized the Italian model of womanhood for various generations. Gina Lollobrigida received the first David di Donatello for Best Actress award for the movie ‘Beautiful But Dangerous’, 1955.

It is legendary the meeting between Gina Lollobrigida and Marilyn Monroe in New York in 1954. They liked each other immediately. Headlines from American newspapers of the period reported: “No Boxing Match Between Blonde and Brunette Bombshells”, “Lollo’s Diplomacy Confused Americans”.

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