Ibiza clubbing: Cathy Guetta – New beginnings
Of the many clichés bandied around in the aftermath of a breakup, that you’re forced to rekindle a long forgotten relationship with yourself is probably the biggest. And yet, as with all age-old sayings, often there’s a little nugget of truth buried in there somewhere. There’s no denying that if you’ve dedicated a vast portion of your life to someone who suddenly disappears, naturally you embark on a period of reflection that eventually leads to new beginnings. Cathy Guetta has considerable experience with this scenario, thanks to events back in 2014 that led her down an unexpected path.
“After the divorce [to then husband, David Guetta], it took three years for me to recover my soul,” she says earnestly. “It was heartbreaking because everything we did together was about love – we shared everything. So it was more than just a drama for me, it was terrible. I was left needing to recover my life.” Indeed, to say that the pair were entangled in every aspect of each other’s lives would be an understatement. In both a personal and professional sense they were deeply tied, with a young family and a world-famous party brand just two of the many joint responsibilities they had to consider when parting.
“I grew up with David and we had a life together that involved working 18-hour days,” Cathy explains. “So I didn’t have time for anything. But after the divorce I started doing all the simple things I hadn’t had chance to do before.” What followed was a three-year period of self-care – going to the gym, taking the kids to school and being at the gates to pick them up, seeing friends – and consequently the gradual onset of a fresh new approach to life. “In those three years I was a normal mother, a normal woman,” she reflects. “It was necessary and it was fantastic.”
Make no mistake, it was no easy transition, but it’s one that Cathy made with characteristic pluckiness – starting again from scratch with barely-there foundations. “Honestly, it was a war for me. I was completely destroyed,” she says of the divorce. “But it was also a catalyst.” So in true phoenix from the ashes style, she began piecing the jigsaw back together, with the final chunk unsurprisingly slotting into place when her passion for events and nightclubbing was reignited. “At the same time as everything was going on, I had a big house project to finish,” she says. “It was very difficult for me, so when it was finally done I decided to celebrate by organising a party.”
This was no ordinary party, but rather one with a discernible Cathy Guetta stamp. Originally intended for 400 guests, it morphed into a soirée for over 1,500 VIPs, many of whom arrived on Ibiza by private jet, much to the chagrin of the local airport. But pivotally, the DJ she chose to headline was one relatively unknown (in European terms) Black Coffee, who she went on to collaborate with for his ground-breaking residency at Hï Ibiza. “After the party they asked me to be a partner,” she explains. “I wasn’t confident starting in the nightlife industry again but I recognised he had a new vibe. I knew he’d arrived at just the right time.”
The night went on to be Hï Ibiza’s most successful of its inaugural summer, and for those who know Cathy, this feat doesn’t raise eyebrows. Her career in organising events stretches back over two decades, and her prowess in developing concepts for sell-out shows is unquestionable (F*** Me I’m Famous at Pacha is proof alone of that) – Cathy spots exploitable gaps in the scene with ease. “Black Coffee is perfect for now because people are tired of techno,” she states. “They want something with more soul and more groove.”
Not only that, but according to her, the clubbing space itself has diversified. “I came to Ibiza for the first time 26 years ago and during that time I’ve seen the industry completely change,” she affirms. “Before, the sign of a good night was when the dance floor was packed, but now when you throw a party, it’s only considered successful if the VIP area is completely full too.” This is why you find Cathy on the door of Black Coffee’s night every Saturday between 1am and 3am, where she welcomes VIPs and acts as a facilitator for good times – excelling at what she does best.
This aptitude for socialising has never gone unnoticed, and at the end of last summer, Cathy was offered her own night at Hï Ibiza with free rein to do her own thing – all she needed to do was come up with a concept. “At first I panicked because I thought ‘oh my god, what can I do?’,” she laughs. “But then I thought, it’s okay, I’ll take the risk. Now’s the time for me.” The result is GangStar, the club’s new Monday night party with a decidedly hip-hop, urban flavour and a powerfully feminine undercurrent – a signal of personal acceptance as much as praise for her support network.
“During that difficult time, it was my girlfriends who were around me,” Cathy explains. “So I wanted a night that had girls at the front – to show they’re all part of my gang.” There’s a strong boxing theme too, which is no coincidence – Cathy feels like she’s been through the rounds and this imagery is a means to reassert authority – metaphorically and literally. “I can’t organise a party unless I’m involved in everything,” she says. “And I wanted there to be a strong boxing image because it’s me in the ring, it’s my comeback!”
More than just another night on a packed clubbing roster, GangStar represents a private transformation, while publicly it brings people together to revel in a style of music not usually associated with Ibiza. It’s testament to Cathy’s determination that she’s been able to pull it off, yet she maintains it’s taken her by surprise. “I didn’t think that one day I would come back to Ibiza and have my own billboard and my own party,” she ponders. “I’m very proud of myself.”
In addition to running the now hugely popular party at Hï Ibiza, Cathy was also invited to return to Lío Ibiza to repeat the success of the Cathylicious party she introduced in 2017. Just a little further down the road, she’s put her skills to running a VIP beach club, Bikini by Cathy Guetta, and a high end restaurant, Turquoise by Cathy Guetta, on the shores of the recently gentrified Talamanca. This isn’t just a woman who has reclaimed the night – she’s reclaimed island life.
Perhaps it’s not the path she would have chosen in the past, but today it’s one she’s following every bump and curve of fiercely. “I couldn’t have imagined it but I wrote another chapter,” she concludes with that baffling hint of both sadness and delight. “Life is such a surprise sometimes.”