Glitz and glamour, sex and celebs, drugs and death: Studio 54 was the ultimate New York nightlife hit. So is it any wonder they're trying to bring it back? Chloe Sevigny, sometime club kid, soon to be disco revival film star, bares all to tell the tale...
She'd vowed not to talk about clubs, but Chloe Sevigny is chattering breathlessly down the phone at midnight, a mixture of gossip, complaints and a laugh like a drain. She's raving about the Pulp show in Manhattan the night before, gushing about her adventures in London, a city she's always so desperate to visit that she agreed to be on "awful Hotel Babylon just because they agreed to fly her over. "Can I move there?" I never go out in New York though I'm out every night in London." She didn't want to talk about nightclubs, fashion and movies, even though her next film, The Last Days Of Disco, has the tunes, the art direction and the necessary collision with today's most desirable retro nuances to make Chloe into someone other than "that girl from Kids", even though she's also now the girl from Trees Lounge, Gummo and Broadway theatre. She knows all about irony, Chloe does, but she can't help being dissatisfied with "retro-virus" and finally snaps when we're talking about the latest wave of fine and dandy Warholism to hit London: "Eurgh! Everyone wanting to re-live all that Factory shit makes me glad that's all over with, but people are still revelling in it," she complains. "Why don't we just move forward instead of always trying to relive the past?"
Why not, indeed? Despite Chloe's protests, the Great Disco Revival is in full swing. London's galleries are once again in thrall to Andy Warhol, sometimes known more as the linchpin of aspirational NYC nightlife than as the world's most heavy-branded Pop artist. Socialite writer Anthony Haden-Guest's The Last Party, a chronicle of New York nightlife encompassing the legendary Manhattan disco Studio 54 straight through to the dark mid-'90s excesses of smack-addled Club Kids, remains the hottest trans-Atlantic reading since Kitty Kelly's The Royals. Perhaps unadvisedly, Studio 54 itself is mooted to re-open in a link-up with London's Cafe de Paris -which may kill the fleeting spirit of retro fashionability inherent in the late -'70s/early-80's glamourpuss designs of Antonio Berardi, Stella McCartney and many others. Still, the music never stops, with everything from the Full Monty-inspired Hot Chocolate uptake to the vocoders weaving in and out of the latest Beastie Boys album. Right now, disco certainly doesn't suck. Did it ever?
Not surprisingly, the biggest disco-reviving impact so far comes from two films arriving soon to British cinemas. 54, starring Neve Campbell and featuring Mike Wayne's World Meyers as taxevading sociopath owner Steve Rubell, opens early in 1999, but Whit Stillman's The Last Days Of Disco, a fantastic US art-house hit, is due for imminent UK release. Last Days brings the same upper-middle class, F Scott Fitzgerald sensebility Stillman used in Metropolitan to his latest subject: the twilight years of early-'80s clubs, when studio 54 had gone off the boil, before Manhattan yuppies coalesced into the inspiration for books like Bonfire Of The Vanities and American Psycho. Its stars? With a great East Coast WASP accent, Brit Kate Beckinsale...and Chloe Sevigny.
Chloe realises her presence here in doubly ironic, considering her protests about retro fashion and desire to shift profile from most people's appraisal of her as a Downtown club kid made good.