How to Throw an Epic Studio 54 Themed Party

How to Throw an Epic Studio 54 Themed Party

Would you die to get into the most exclusive disco club of the 1970s? That's exactly what happened when one would-be guest attempted to gain access to Studio 54 by crawling through the vents. The iconic club was such a restrictive affair that Andy Warhol famously said that it was "a dictatorship on the door but a democracy on the dance floor."

Your friends and family won't need to go to extremes when you invite them to your Studio 54 theme party! You can change the narrative by throwing a disco-inspired bash where everyone feels like a VIP. All of your guests will feel glamourous as they groove to the hottest 70s hits in your theatrical, over-the-top venue, no sneaking in required!

Do you know how to throw a Studio 54 themed party that embraces the true spirit of the wildest club off-Broadway? We've created this guide filled with our favourite Studio 54 themed party ideas, inspired by the true and apocryphal events that made the exclusive dance club so memorable.

With the right music, dress code, and decor, you can create the over-the-top ambience of New York's hottest nightclub.

Keep reading for great tips for throwing a Studio 54 themed party!

Start at the Door

Studio 54 took on such mythic status because of its exclusivity. The owners, Steve Rubell and Ian Schrager, curated an extremely restrictive guest list. If you weren't on the list, you could only get in if a bouncer decided that your style was "far out."

Hundreds of hopefuls lined up, hoping they might gain entrance to the disco wonderland, where they could boogie among their heroes.

You can set the scene for your disco bash by making it feel just as exclusive. As guests arrive, have them check in with a bouncer. They can only walk through the doors if their name is on the "VIP" list, right beside names like Diana Ross and Elton John!

By starting the party outside of the doors, you'll build up anticipation and set expectations high.

70s Fashion

Dress for the Disco

If your guests hope to gain entry into your exclusive Studio 54 themed party, they should plan to dress to impress! Encourage them to dress in 1970s disco style. They might emulate a trend-setting celebrity from the era, or dig in their closets for something from back in the day!

When choosing outfits, disco icons had a few goals in mind. Foremost, their outfits needed to be comfortable enough to dance in. Disco dancing was the highlight of the evening, and they couldn't groove in impractical outfits!

Disco fashion also had to be loud - mostly because the dancers themselves couldn't be! Guests at the club couldn't be heard above the disco hits. Their clothing had to do all the talking, so it served as a form of bold self-expression.

Your guests might begin by emulating the style of their favourite Studio 54 regulars. Celebrities who were frequent attendees included:

  • Cher
  • Bruce Jenner
  • John Lennon
  • Liza Minnelli
  • Freddie Mercury
  • Dolly Parton
  • Tina Turner
  • Gilda Radner
  • John Travolta
  • Andy Warhol

Most guests shouldn't have trouble putting together outfits using finds from a second-hand store or thrift shop. Encourage them to wear glitter, bold and colourful prints, flowing fabrics, and sharp lapels.

Feminine guests might choose to don polyester jumpsuits, chiffon dresses with plunging necklines, flowing tops with outrageous patterns, bell bottoms, metallic wrap dresses, and halter tops.

Masculine guests might wear flared pants, high-rise waistcoats, three-piece suits, boldly patterned neckties, and anything with a pointy lapel.

Your guests might choose to accessorize with aviator glasses, newsboy caps, fedoras, and false moustaches. The most important thing is to ensure that they're expressing themselves! Expect a bold interpretation of your theme with tons of awesome and outrageous styles on display, just like at the real Studio 54!

Dance the Night Away: Meet Violet 54

There is no Studio 54 without music! It was a dance club above all else, so without great tunes, your party is sure to be a flop. You shouldn't have any trouble curating a loud, high-energy playlist that will keep your guests going all night long!

For that authentic disco sound, consider bringing in a live disco party band like Violet 54. This six-piece band evokes the era with an extensive repertoire including disco, funk, and Motown hits. Their bold costumes and endless energy will bring life to the dance floor, ensuring that every guest gets down and has a great time!

You won't be stuck in the past, either. This versatile group of performers are masters at inserting contemporary hits into their all-star '70s lineup. In between sets, a DJ can keep the hits flowing, so the music doesn't have to stop!

Bringing in a live band is one of the best party theme ideas. Your party will feel like a scene out of Saturday Night Fever, with dynamic energy that pre-recorded playlists can't match.

Studio 54 Calls for Glittering Decor

At one famous New Year's Eve party, the Studio 54 event planner Robert Isabell took decor to the next level. He had four tons of glitter trucked in and dumped on the Studio 54 dance floor. That was over 10 centimetres of glitter, which showed up all over the club for years to come!

While you don't need to go to that much trouble, that is the spirit you should be seeking to emulate with your decorations. Embrace a shining, impossible aesthetic. Incorporate glitter wherever you can!

Another key to Studio 54's popularity was theatricality. The owners brought in Broadway sets and lighting designers to ensure that the space was constantly in transformation. If your venue offers a lighting package, take advantage so you can emulate that classic Studio 54 ambience.

Naturally, you'll also want to be sure that there's a disco ball above the dance floor! It will provide the perfect '70s aesthetic, add a touch of theatrical lighting, and help create an uncanny atmosphere. Many venues already have one, but if not, it's worth it to track down a rental!

70s club disco ball and decor

Over-the-Top Photo Ops

Studio 54 was full of rich and esoteric celebrities from all corners of the cultural world. Fine artists frequently mingled with movie stars on the dance floor. Millionaires danced with singers, and Broadway stars sipped drinks next to politicians.

With such a wild variety of personalities, many unexpected things happened at Studio 54! Photographers have memorialized many of these iconic moments in now-famous photographs. You might seek to recreate some of these weird and wonderful circumstances for photo opportunities during your event.

For example, it doesn't get much more iconic than the time Bianca Jagger sat on the back of a white horse right in the club! Dolly Parton once brought an entire petting zoo into Studio 54 for an event! Some of the most famous photos from the club feature celebrities posing with stunning white doves.

While you don't necessarily need to bring live animals into your venue, you might offer photo opportunities with stick horses or prop doves.

Studio 54 also famously dropped things from a net suspended from the ceiling. You might plan a glittery balloon drop at the peak of the party. Be sure a photographer is ready to take some fantastic photos!

Wild and Wonderful Entertainment

If you want to take a break from dancing, plenty of other event entertainment fits the over-the-top Studio 54 theme. The club was a theatrical oasis, and almost anything could happen there.

The 1970s was the height of socially acceptable drag performances. You might invite a drag queen (or a few) to lip-sync or MC during the evening.

Studio 54 frequently featured fashion shows, where top designers could show off their latest lines to the world's biggest fashion influencers. You might allow guests to strut their stuff during a fancy dress fashion show. You could even award prizes!

The club was even once home to a circus, first assembled to help celebrate designer Valentino's birthday. If the venue allows, you might consider bringing in an aerial or circus performer. A magician or fire eater can also add a touch of extra theatrical ambience to your event!

Studio 54 Themed Party Games

Studio 54 is famous for one game in particular: Simon. The Milton Bradley company held the launch party for the game right in the club. They believed the game was a good match for the bright, trippy lights of the venue.

Guests at the original Studio 54 could play the memory game on a four-foot model above the dance floor.

While you may not be able to find a giant Simon game, you can scatter a few smaller models around the room. You might even consider holding a small tournament and offering prizes. It will give your guests just enough time to catch their breaths before heading back to the dance floor!

70s disco band
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A Groovy Studio 54 Theme Party

The trickiest part about coming up with Studio 54 theme party ideas is that the sky is the limit! The famous disco club was a liminal space where the world's wildest personalities gathered to dance the night away. The club was constantly changing.

The only rule is that there are no rules!

Even so, your guests will riot if you don't incorporate the top hits from that iconic decade! You can't go wrong with a live performance from our top high-end disco band, Violet 54. Contact Bands For Hire today to bring this dazzling disco group to your Studio 54 themed bash!