the 35 most fashionable parties of all time

From Paul Poiret’s extravagant 1911 Paris atelier all-nighter to Madonna’s MTV sleepover and P.Diddy’s best white party – and in honor of i-D’s 35th birthday – here are our 35 favorite nights to remember.

by Alice Newell-Hanson
05 August 2015, 5:05pm

Paul Poiret's Thousand and Second Night, 1911
Pioneering designer Paul Poiret threw open the grounds of his Paris atelier to 300 guests. The dress code was "Oriental," and guests who didn't comply were turned away. It was the ur-fashion party.

Stephen Tennant's 21st birthday, 1920
The original 20th-century party boy wore lipstick and leopard-print pajamas just for spending the day in bed. So you know he and his squad went H.A.M. for his 21st birthday. Cecil Beaton was the official photographer.

Image via Flickr

The Bauhaus Metal Party, 1929
No one did costume parties or inappropriate student-teacher relationships like the Bauhaus. The Metal Party was the school's final and fiercest effort. Guests were invited to come dressed as diving bells, egg whisks or maybe a radioactive substance.

William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davis' circus party, 1937
Hollywood actress Marion Davis was the Paris Hilton of her time and newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst was her Nick Carter. Together they hosted endless parties at their 118-room beach pad in Santa Monica. In 1937, they set up a circus on the grounds with a carousel that was so big they had to knock down a wall.

The "Fifty Most Beautiful People" at The Factory, 1965
Edie Sedgwick and 49 other beautiful people doing beautiful things at the original Factory at 231 East Forty-seventh Street.

Image via Flickr

Truman Capote's Black and White Ball, 1966
Truman Capote spent three months compiling the guest list in a black and white composition book, which he carried with him everywhere, adding and crossing off names.

Woodstock, 1969
Cons: torrential rain,"brown acid," traffic. Pros: seeing nearly every band your parents ever told you mattered, being able to wear a headband when it was still cool, free love.

Rothschild Surrealist Ball, 1972
The plates were covered in fur, the bread rolls were dyed blue and the centerpieces included broken dolls and dead fish. But the masks were even weirder. Hostess Marie-Hélène de Rothschild wore a deer's head with tears made from real diamonds. Salvador Dali and Audrey Hepburn were there.

Bianca Jagger's 30th birthday, 1977
She didn't actually ride into Studio 54 on a horse - she walked in with Mick Jagger - but a naked giant covered in gold glitter did lead her around on a white stallion later, which is still pretty baller.

Image via Instagram

Freddie Mercury's Halloween party, 1978
It had everything: drag queens, contortionists, naked wrestling models and hermaphrodite dwarves with trays strapped to their heads. Pablo Escobar's Halloween costume bash, held in Medellín the same night, looked like a children's birthday party in comparison.

Yves Saint Saint Laurent Opium launch, 1978
In his diary entry for September 20, 1978, Andy Warhol expresses his regret over "missing the big glamorous YSL Opium party in New York on the Chinese boat downtown." Yves Saint Laurent had 2,000 white orchids imported from Hawaii for the occasion and there was an enormous gold Buddha.

Image via Pinterest

Kenny Scharf exhibition opening at Fiorucci, 1979
Watch Klaus Nomi dance in the windows of the iconic East 59th Street Fiorucci store and regret not being alive in the 70s.

Blondie "TV Party," circa 1980
Debbie Harry made jumping on a pogo stick look punk.

Area's "Gnarly" theme opening night, circa 1980
The downtown 80s nightlife den with some of the most notorious bathrooms in New York hosted rotating themed nights. The launch for its "Gnarly" theme "featured monster trucks and a skateboard ramp with live skateboards," remembers the club's resident DJ, Johnny Dynell.

The Stone Roses "Flower Show," 1985
The seminal British group hired a warehouse behind Piccadilly Station in Manchester and called their gig the "Flower Show" to throw off the police - and the Madchester scene was born. Invitations were scraps of paper with a phone number you could call for directions.

Malcolm Forbes' 70th birthday, 1989
The magazine baron flew 800 friends to Tangiers on three planes, including a Concorde. The guests yachted in shoulder pads and carried customized gold credit cards which served as passes for the weekend. Isn't that what everyone did in the 80s?

The Castlemorton Common festival, May 1992
A countercultural musical riot organized by Spiral Tribe in the English countryside. It was the rave to end all raves (partly because 13 members of the group were arrested directly afterwards).

Madonna's pajama party, 1995
Madonna premiered the most expensive music video ever made (for her single, "Bedtime Story"), with a slumber party at Webster Hall in New York that was broadcast live on MTV.

N.A.S.A., 1995
The weekly Friday night rave at Shelter in Tribeca - but specifically the night when the club scene in Kids was filmed there.

The Versace Met Ball, 1997
Gwyneth Paltrow wore a see-through dressHugh Grant and Liz Hurley were dating, and Gianni Versace had died earlier that year - making the gala honoring his museum retrospective all the more poignant.

Paris Hilton's 21st birthday, 2002
Self explanatory.

The first Misshapes party, 2002
New Yorkers Geordon Nicol, Greg Krelenstein and Leigh Lezark threw what they thought would be a one-off night at "downtown hellmouth" Luke & Leroy and accidentally spawned an underground phenomenon - a Saturday night haven for all the beautiful (underaged) freaks and geeks of NYC.

P. Diddy's annual white party, 2004
He arrived in a helicopter carrying a copy of the Declaration of Independence.

Agathe Snow's 24-hour dance party, 2005
The artist hosted a 24-hour dance marathon on an abandoned block near Ground Zero, in a hedonistic tribute to NYC's downtown post-9/11 art scene. It was era-defining.

Still from Stamina, Agathe Snow, 2015

Naomi Campbell's 36th birthday, 2006
18: the number of floors she rented at the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai. 3: the number of days it lasted. 600,000: the number of dollars it cost per day.

Morrissey Night at Sway, the 2000s
Chloë Sevigny: "My favorite club is probably Sway. They have a Morrissey night that I've been going to for, like, 12 years."

The first GHE20G0TH1K, 2009
DJ Venus X held a party at a friend's dive bar in Brooklyn, hoping to create "a place for people to express themselves," and started an entire gender-bending, sexuality-questioning, paradigm-shifting scene.

The last GHE20G0TH1K. Image courtesy Venus X.

Kate Moss' wedding, 2011
Because Jamie Hince proposed to her while they were watching My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, John Galliano made her dress, Mario Testino took the pictures and what seemed like the whole fashion world got boozy in a marquee together.

Alexander Wang's frat party, 2011
There were red cups and jello shots and Odd Future stormed the stage unannounced. It was the wildest of all Alexander Wang's legendary fashion week after parties. As Rolling Stone pointed out, "How often are Anna Wintour and Tyler, the Creator within the same breathing space?"

Image courtesy Kanon Organic Vodka.

Opening Ceremony's 10 year party, 2012
The best parties of the past decade of New York nightlife came together for one night only at Webster Hall. It felt like the celebrities outnumbered your friends, but also like, for that night, they were your friends. You thought it was the best night of your life, until Lil Kim appeared for a surprise performance, and then you knew it was.

Image courtesy Opening Ceremony.

Rick Owens' 20th anniversary party, 2014
He commissioned sculptor Doug Jennings to make a 1.5 ton sculpture of his own torso and mounted it on top of Selfridges in London.

Kim and Kanye's wedding, 2014
See: Paris Hilton's 21st birthday.

Riccardo Tisci's 40th birthday, 2014
Ibiza. Kate Moss. Clouds of white balloons. A video message from Anna Wintour. A serenade by Naomi Campbell. #Ibiza74 was the fashion party to end all fashion parties.

Image via @kimkardashian

Reginae Carter's "My Super Sweet 16," 2015
MTV brought back "My Super Sweet 16" for one last job: documenting the Atlanta coming-of-age festivities of Lil Wayne's only daughter. And it was so, so worth it.

i-D x Moschino party, 2015
This summer, Jeremy Scott and i-D rounded up models, rappers and a rainbow of beautiful club kids in mansion in central London and let the cocktails flow freely. Lindsay Lohan held court in a pink Barbie throne, gold confetti rained from the ceiling and A$AP Rocky filmed it on his Super8. The rest is all a blur...

Photography Stephanie Sian Smith


Text Alice Newell-Hanson
Lead image Stephanie Sian Smith

the 35th birthday issue
35th birthday issue