Fashion Week: Betsey Johnson Sets the House On Fire (Not Literally, But Almost)


Betsey Johnson sealed her Fall/Winter 2014 show last night at Lincoln Center with blown kisses before turning her signature cartwheel and split. As spry as ever, watching the septuagenarian designer dance down the runway with her two granddaughters confirmed the show’s title: Betsey’s Hot.

The collection, with her usual Lisa Frank-neon color palate, was billed as “Rihanna meets American Hustle.” For sub-sect of the population that description appeals to, the sequin-ridden and faux furry collection of jumpsuits, miniskirts, leotards and tights will be sure to please.

Just vaguely ’70s-inspired — if the ’70s took place one thousand years from now and in space — these are clothes fit more for a Spice Girl than a real girl. No matter, we love imagining Johnson as a giant little girl, eating spoonfuls of glitter for breakfast and gleefully dressing her human-sized Bratz dolls.

Which is not to call this collection, or her work in general, unwearable. Paris Hilton, perched in the front row, looked surprisingly refined sporting a more subdued Betsey Johnson dress. Even Disney Channel darling Zendaya looked all grown-up in one of Johnson’s otherwise wild leopard jumpsuits. Miss J. Alexander was, predictably, nodding in approval.

Isolate any one of these items — a bedazzled pump here, a metallic skirt there, and they become fantastic statement pieces. We desperately covet the jumbo photo-realistic mouse ring all the models were wearing. Thrown all together, it’s as if those teens from the Bling Ring raided Barbie’s dream house. And that, ultimately, is all the more fun.

Three models slipped and nearly took a tumble at the end of the runway — models are tall people in tall shoes, that’s a long way to fall — but played it off warmly, inviting the crowd to laugh it off with them.

At close, two buff, shirtless firemen escorted the designer out of a cloud of smoke before the platoon of girls reemerged in their skivvies, parading around with bunches of heart-shaped mylar balloons.

Again Betsey Johnson made fashion week what it always should be: unpredictable, unpretentious, and whole lot of fun.

See the full Betsey Johnson runway show gallery

Photos continue on the next page. See the full Betsey Johnson runway show gallery[

Photos continue on the next page. See the full Betsey Johnson runway show gallery[

Photos continue on the next page. See the full Betsey Johnson runway show gallery