“It’s somewhere between a dream and a nightmare,” explains Giovanna Battaglia of navigating the labyrinth of the Diamond Horseshoe club, the Broadway venue recently resurrected at the Paramount Hotel. The W magazine Contributing Fashion Editor was captured in this voyeuristic short as she played hostess at theatrical ball Queen of the Night during the recent FW14 New York shows. Moonlighting as Creative Director of the immersive event, Battaglia has conjured a world filled with wildly exaggerated Thom Browne-designed costumes and lobster-stuffed steel birdcages by Jennifer Rubell, where unsuspecting spectators are plucked into secret chambers for a solo encounter. “The place smells like cigarettes, sex, perfume, whiskey and church rolled into one,” says Set Designer Douglas Little of the sensory overload. “It’s kind of sinful, classic, decadent and slightly salacious, but it’s there to shake up New York nightlife.” The basement club was first opened in 1938 by Manhattan impresario Billy Rose, and Battaglia is nostalgic for the wayward decadence of the swing-era: “Baz Luhrmann told me the scene in The Great Gatsby when Leonardo Dicaprio is in an underground speakeasy was inspired by the original Diamond Horseshoe,” she says. Here the front row regular gives NOWNESS a quick-fire guide to her quintessential night out.
What's the best party you've ever been to?
Giovanna Batagglia: Dolce & Gabbana’s Venice Alta Moda masked ball. Arriving at the Palazzo with the gondola at night was like something from another era: everybody wearing amazing costumes and masks. The decor was like a 1700 dream.
Cocktail of choice?
GB: Vodka on the rocks.
GB: No trick, just make sure you have dinner before.
GB: A bat and leopard hybrid.
Four people—dead or alive—you’d like to have at your next dinner?
GB: Cleopatra, Dalí, Baz Luhrmann and Beyoncé.
Best hangover cure?
GB: A steam sauna and a Bloody Mary.