June 03, 1985 12:00 PM

Nouvelle deco,” said one celebrant. “Postmodern glitz,” said another, trying to describe the decor of the Palladium, Manhattan’s newest hot spot. “Early déjà vu,” said a third, and that might be closest to the truth. The opening of the Palladium, a 104,000-sq. ft., seven-floor, multimillion-dollar nightclub built inside the shell of a 59-year-old theater, marks the return of Steve Rubell, 41, and Ian Schrager, 37, to the nightlife they once ruled as the creators of the disco mecca, Studio 54. Though the two have started a successful hotel (Morgans) since serving one year in prison for tax evasion, the nightlife is the real bright life for Rubell and Schrager. “We got a second chance,” says Rubell of their rehabilitation. “Some people think we didn’t deserve it, but most people have been very nice. We’re very lucky.”

The two impresarios (Palladium’s “conceptual consultants” rather than owners) commissioned renovations by Japanese architect Arata Isozaki and interior furnishings by French designer Andrée Putman, then recruited such trendy downtown artists as Keith Haring, Francesco Clemente and Kenny Scharf to decorate the mammoth pleasure dome. “Chapeau!” cried an elated Halston on opening night. “Hats off to Steve and Ian. Thank God we have a nightclub in the world again.”

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