Party like it's...

..1978 at Studio 54 on New Year’s Eve, when the mean age of the A-list crowd was, err, golden 50ish

Since when have the kids taken over the club scene?

You can’t deny it: No one has partied in recent years like they partied in the late 1970s when Le Freak was the moral code, and all inhibitions—ethical, religious, social—was kept out the gates of hell, and every club, particularly the legendary Studio 54 in Manhattan, the epicenter of the clubbing universe, was the gateway to modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah, in which to get high, get wild, get sexy, and get lost in the never-never land of drinks, drugs, dalliances, and disco.    

Studio 54 made Halloween in Hollywood look like a PTA meeting.

—Lorna Luft

Although Brooke Shields, the world’s most famous teenager in the late ’70s and early ‘80s, started hanging out there at age 14, Studio 54 was no place for kids, unless the kids went there to gawk at the A-listers, 40 or older or at an age that signified they had lived enough of life to really, really party and throw all caution to the neon-lit, strobe-lit winds.

Let’s see how old they were, those scenestealers, say, in 1978, though many of them partied every day or every week throughout Studio 54’s lifespan as the global capital of the disco craze, from 1977 to 1980, the three years it took for the club to be immortal, the scene against which all party scenes have been measured since.

Diana Vreeland was 76. Andy Warhol was 50 while Jackie O was a year younger. Truman Capote was 54 and Shirley MacLaine was younger by a decade. Sally Lippman, “Disco Sally,” the grand matriarch of the nightlife, was 78 and still groovy. At 74, Cary Grant was spotted among the gyrating bodies on the club floor with Farrah Faucet and Margaux Hemingway in his arms. Oscar de la Renta was 46, so was Halston. Calvin Klein was 36 while Yves Saint-Laurent was 42.

Oh and there were the young’uns, but not so young at 32, not in those days when the median age for first marriages in the US was 22 for men and 20 for women—Dolly Parton, Elizabeth Taylor, Diane von Furstenberg, Cher, and Liza Minnelli!

How young were you when you started walking into a club thinking, “Why is it so dark, why is it so noisy, why is it so crowded, and who are all these people?” My friend, supermodel Tweetie de Leon Gonzalez, once told me, “You start asking those questions, you start getting old.”