For us normal people, parties are occasions for hanging out with friends, having a few drinks and letting a little loose. But for celebrities, parties are opportunities to flaunt their crazy amounts of cash and throw the IT event of the season/year/millennium. Financially responsible curmudgeons may scoff, but we’re taking notes on these celebrity ragers in preparation for the next time we find a couple million dollars burning a hole in our pockets. Here, the 10 most infamous celebrity bashes of all time.
The Playboy Roller Disco & Pajama Party
While you might see the aftermath of some modern day ragers on TMZ, in 1979 the party of the year was a full blown TV special. Perpetually enrobed party animal Hugh Hefner put on a July Fourth extravaganza at the Playboy Mansion, and invited ABC (and Richard Dawson for some reason) to bear witness to the mansion’s first roller disco party, which turned into a pajama party come nightfall, naturally. The party also boasted one of the oddest guest lists of all time, which included Gloria Allred, Shel Silverstein, Patty Hearst and James Caan, along with a bevy of playmates.
YSL Opium Launch Party
You know your party is good when Andy Warhol has FOMO. The artist complained in The Andy Warhol Diaries about missing the launch of Yves Saint Laurent’s new fragrance, Opium, in 1978, which took place on board the Peking docked at New York Harbor. Playing up the East Asian theme, Laurent decked out the deck in 2,000 Hawaiian orchids, Chinese temple motifs and a 1,000-pound bronze Buddha statue, all at a cost of $300,000 (about $1.2 million today). There was even a rumor that the belly of the ship contained an actual opium den. After a fireworks show, an elite selection of the 800 attendees headed to Studio 54 for the after-party.
Bianca Jagger’s Birthday at Studio 54
YSL was only one of countless celebrities to host ragers at the infamous Studio 54. Among the club’s many accolades, including the birth of the Midori Sour in the ‘70s, Bianca Jagger’s birthday deserves particular attention. At the event, the then-wife of Mick rode around the club’s dance floor on a white horse (led by a naked giant covered in gold glitter, mind you), kicking off the celebrity trend of making an entrance atop an animal. We have Jagger to thank for Heidi Klum’s Halloween costume of Lady Godiva, complete with white horse, and for Katy Perry’s entrance to Perez Hilton’s 32nd birthday party on the back of an elephant. Thank you, Lady Jagger.
Miley Cyrus’ 21st Birthday
For her pivotal transition from underage, not-so-secret partier to legal, out-and-open drinker, Miley Cyrus threw a party that married her Disney roots with her edgy pop star ambitions. Fellow child star Emma Roberts mingled with Ke$ha. Blow up sex dolls and strippers joined a giant re-creation of the Lorax from Dr. Seuss. And the birthday cake quite literally embodied Cyrus; the dessert was sculpted like a Greek nude of the pop star with marijuana leaves strategically placed to keep the cake minimally modest.
Kanye’s Birthday Party for Kim (That Almost Was)
The entity known as Kimye is no stranger to opulent galas, but the b-day party Kanye West planned to throw for Kim Kardashian’s 30th takes the cake, literally. After Kardashian received four birthday cakes at various celebrations over the course of several days, West was planning to fete his bae with a $1 million birthday cake, complete with real diamonds embedded in the frosting. But the price tag was too much for even Kim to bear, so she nixed the plan, proving that she is, against all odds, the down to earth one in the relationship.
Sean Parker's Halloween Party
Some parties live on in gossip, but the Napster founder’s drug-fueled Halloween party found immortality in film. Parker has vocally condemned Justin Timberlake’s representation of his partying ways in The Social Network, but, thanks to the tech entrepreneur’s 2009 party, no one’s listening to his complaints. The $150,000 costumed affair featured 100 bottles of Cristal—among other (illegal) substances—but it was just one of a number of drug-fueled events that lead to Parker’s party boy reputation and eventual exit from Facebook. We just hope the tech mogul got to drink all that Champagne before the cops predictably broke up the party.
Leonardo DiCaprio’s 38th Birthday
Not all celebrity parties are hedonistic. Leo is already one of our eternal drinking heroes, offering messy celebs a shining example of how to live lavishly without becoming a lush, but we’re even more impressed he maintained this role model status at his birthday extravaganza in 2012. As Leo ticked one year closer to 40, the actor, surrounded by guests like Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Cameron Diaz and Robert De Niro, thought not of his impending mortality, but of others. For every bottle of alcohol purchased at The Darby that night, he sent a portion of the proceeds to the American Red Cross. The charity received $500,000 in total.
Paris Hilton’s 21st Birthday Party
Any old celeb can shut down a city with a truly epic party, but only a Hilton could turn a gala into a global affair. After a kick-off party in New York, Paris Hilton paid $75,000 per person to fly every guest to Los Angeles, then to Las Vegas, then to Tokyo, then to London. It was like The Simple Life meets Around the World in 80 Days. Just goes to show that with enough Red Bull and vodka, anything really is possible.
Diddy’s 40th Birthday Party
When you’re arguably the most famous celebrity spirit brand rep in the world, the booze has to flow at your birthday celebration. Cîroc honored their golden boy with a $3 million bash at the Plaza Hotel in New York, one fit for guests like Jay-Z, Kim Kardashian, Denzel Washington, Nelly and Jimmy Fallon. The birthday boy was even serenaded by Al Green performing “Love and Happiness,” which trumps “Happy Birthday” any day. The guest list was all the more impressive because Diddy was competing for attendees that day with the Victoria Secret fashion show over at The Armory. The party was so crazy that the morning after, Diddy admitted to experiencing his first hangover in five years. We can’t wait to see what he does for the big five-oh.
Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball
Long before Diddy took over the Plaza for his birthday, Truman Capote threw a similar shindig in the hotel. It took Capote three months and $16,000 (about $120,000 today) to plan the exclusive black-and-white masquerade ball, inspired by the Ascott scene from My Fair Lady. Mia Farrow, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Norman Mailer, Tennessee Williams, Lauren Bacall, and a few of the Kennedys were in attendance, plus actual royalty like the Maharani of Jaipur and Italian princess Luciana Pignatelli. It has literally been called “the party of the century.”