2019-10-10 by W.M.
Studio 54 Co-Founder Says Michael Kors Never Actually Partied There
Studio 54, if you don’t recall from binging VH1 retrospectives as a pre-teen, was one of New York City’s most high-profile discos during the 1970s. Its sex balcony was infamous, as were the mattresses in the basement; its VIP clientele included Andy Warhol, Cher, Freddie Mercury, and David Bowie; and because it was the 70s, the flow of quaaludes was endless. All of that and more—like stories of horses in the club—earned Studio 54 an infamous reputation as an “extraordinary, one-of-a-kind” “hedonists’ mecca.”
With no lack of scintillating, glitter-covered inspiration there, fashion designer Michael Kors—who, unless you’re an affluent suburban mom, is most recognizable as a longtime judge on Project Runway—looked to Studio 54 for his latest collection. For Fall 2019, Kors has created puffer coats covered with the disco’s logo, flared and glittery pantsuits, and flashy fur coats, all drawing from Kors’ frequent visits to Studio 54… or so he says. As he told fashion icon André Leon Talley in Interview this week, the days he spent at the disco were “too many,” and he went on to recall his most iconic Studio 54 memories: going to Studio 54 instead of high school prom, seeing “everyone” having sex in the balcony, watching people fall down the stairs while high.
Now, some disco drama is brewing, because according to Studio 54 co-founder Ian Schrager, Kors’ recollection is bullshit. Per Page Six, Schrager took to Interview‘s Instagram to write, “I don’t believe Michael Kors was ever at Studio 54. I certainly don’t remember him as he made no impression. This is nothing more than an obvious exploitation by a garment center person to sell some clothes that has nothing to do with Studio or what it was about.” The tea is scorching!
It’s totally reasonable for Schrager not to remember him, Kors told Page Six, as he was in high school and college during his disco-going days. “My friends and I were young students, not celebrities. We were never in a VIP room and did not meet Ian or Steve,” he said. “From my experience, the most amazing thing about Studio 54 was the mix of people, from struggling students out to have a great time to the rich and famous. My collection celebrates that magical moment that I have so many fabulous memories of.”
Sure, maybe, as Schrager says, those alleged disco days are just a narrative to sell $5,000 fur coats! But, like Kors asserts, what nightlife mogul would be hanging out with high schoolers, anyway?
Perhaps there’s an easier answer: with quaaludes—which have been linked to memory loss—flowing freely, maybe there just isn’t a reliable narrator here. One thing’s for certain, and it’s that this is the most we’ve thought about Studio 54, or Michael Kors, in years.