Based on the fanfare, glitter and all-around energy at the Betsey Johnson show, you’d have no idea that the 70-year-old designer filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May.
Backstage, models were eating candy while getting their hair crimped and sparkly red lipstick painted on their lips. A huge gumball machine dispensed mini cupcakes encased in plastic containers. Posters drawn by Johnson herself hung on the walls covered in sparkles and written with fun phrases. Cameras followed her around filming her for her new reality show on the Style Network, “Betsey + Lulu.” It was a giant party.
The designer’s latest collection stuck to her playful roots in a retrospective show. The show started from the beginning when Johnson’s label was created, in 1978,and ended with the present. An assortment of shoes by the designer were worn, along with Steve Madden shoes and even a pair of hot pink fins.
Big crimped hair, superhero-meets-pinup looking eye makeup and pointed sparkly nails accompanied the looks.
A piglet made a runway appearance. The models tossed balloons in the air while wearing mini black shorts and white shirts printed with the phrase “Guys ‘heart’ B.J.”
It seemed the only difference in this show from years past was the cost of Johnson’s new line, as her dresses are now priced in the $99-249 range.
Many of Johnson’s retail stores closed over the summer and the price point of her former collection took most of the blame. Now her lower-priced line is being sold at Macy’s and other department stores.
The designer celebrated her 70th birthday on the day of her show with her daughter emerging from a giant cake. She capped the night off with her signature cartwheel and split along to tunes sung by her friend, Cyndi Lauper.
While most would say that Betsey’s back, it’s almost like she never left.