Iggy Azalea and Rita Ora Rock Out for Grand Opening of SLS Las Vegas

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Iggy Azalea

Guests including Aaron Paul and Brian Grazer arrived to celebrate the seven-years-in-the making hotel

The long-awaited SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, looking to bring some Hollywood cool to the desert, is now open and its first steps were marked by an explosive fireworks display and blow-out celebrity-filled bash with 3,500 guests on Friday. The culmination of a three-year $415 million renovation on the site of the former Sahara Hotel, the red carpet was dotted with celebrities including Kellan Lutz, Aaron Paul, Maria Menounos, Emile Hirsch and Brittany Snow. But the night belonged to Sam -- well Sam and Saam that is -- Sam Nazarian, founder and CEO of SLS parent company sbe and Saam the statue designed by the resort’s creative maestro Philippe Starck, prominently featured in the porte-cochere, an exuberant, one-eyed silver figure with raised arms meant to serve as a mascot. sbe is known for operating hotspot restaurants and nightclubs in Los Angeles such as The Sayers Club, Bazaar (at its SLS Beverly Hills), Cleo and Katsuya, all of which can be found at SLS Las Vegas. sbe acquired the the Vegas site, once home to the Rat Pack-era Sahara Hotel & Casino, in 2007.

The event kicked off around 7 p.m., with sbe’s L.A. friends, who made the trek across the desert tumbling down from their rooms, and local influencers who were beckoned through the doors by a gaggle of futuristically costumed choreographed showgirls. At check-in, guests were immediately sorted by rank with cards granting varying degrees of access (black, pink, gold and silver cards) — true to sbe’s "you can’t sit with us" red-rope politics.

Throughout the night, anonymous performers popped up in the crowd and everywhere there were unexpected touches such as a photo op where guests could dive into a vignette starring some of SLS Las Vegas’s design elements including a black-and-white color palette, monkey chandeliers and a long dining table, with what else, starchitect Philippe Starck's signature chairs. The casino, however, wasn't permitted to start taking bets until it was officially open to the public at midnight.

Food and beverage offerings were plentiful as all of the resort’s restaurants and bars served a buffet of selections from their menus. One particular standout was Bazaar Meat by Jose Andres with large slabs of raw flesh on display and its show kitchen.

Around 9 p.m. Iggy Azalea took to the Pepsi-sponsored stage at the Foxtail Pool, performing a handful of songs and her new duet "Black Widow" with special guest Rita Ora. On the red carpet, Azalea told The Hollywood Reporter that SLS Las Vegas made a strong first impression.

“I really like that it’s bright and colorful — it's really easy as someone who stays in a lot of hotel for things to get looking monotonous and blend. I love that this feels fun and young,” said the singer, wearing a tangerine-colored dress. Ora noted she is not only a big fan of Las Vegas but also of one of Starck’s touches at the hotel . "The yellow bathroom in the room, its really yellow but I like it. And Vegas, I like it when I have nothing to do the next day — it’s timeless!” Among those Instagram-ing photos during the concert was producer Brian Grazer (whose fiance is sbe's chief marketing officer Veronica Smiley.)

Cindy Crawford, Rande Gerber, Dita Von Teese, Chuck Liddell and all of the resort’s top executives including president Rob Oseland took in a special surprise performance by Lenny Kravitz in The Sayers Club just before midnight. The singer’s design firm, Kravitz Design, created four of the hotel’s megasuites.

He told THR that each suite is just a bit different. "There is one that is more of a business room -- but young and sexy -- lots of rich wood, very organic, beautiful furniture, custom made couches, beautiful wallpapers. There is one that is on the pop art side with a late ’60s influence and ne that is a bit more ’80s glam."

Soon after Kravitz’s stint at Sayers the ribbon was cut, the fireworks were deployed and the doors were open to the waiting masses -- that new, not-yet-smoked-in casino smell, quickly disappearing.

Aug. 26, 1:07 p.m. A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Veronica Smiley as the girlfriend of Brian Grazer.

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