Randi Hernandez
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M.I.S.S. NYFW: Betsey Johnson Fall 2010

Tribute to Alexander McQueen in middle, Betsey J on right

Tribute to Alexander McQueen in middle, Betsey J on right

We are such big fans of Betsey Johnson at M.I.S.S., that we jumped at the chance to go to her Fall 2010 runway show when we were offered standing room to the event by her pr company, Mao PR.

Since doing a retrospective on Betsey’s life, and as a result of watching some of her previous runway shows, I have become intrigued with the designer and hoped I would someday see her signature cartwheel. When my dad told me he once bought a suit at Betsey’s store, Paraphernalia, I knew it was fate seeing a Betsey show in person. On February 14th, Valentine’s Day, Betsey Johnson was definitely the sweetheart of New York Fashion week.

Although Betsey is definitely worthy of a show at Bryant Park, she has often made the conscious decision to show OUTSIDE of the tents, usually because of space constrictions. This season, her show was at The Altman Building, and Betsey’s shows are more like play productions – of course, this year was no exception.

Betsey’s invite was in the form of a valentine, with different types of men (Lawyer, Poor Man, Doctor, Thief) all around a circle and a spinning arrow for one to find her mate. When I arrived at the Altman Building, a girl dressing the models gave me a heads up that the theme of the event would be “cops and robbers”, and that Betsey was wearing striped pajamas and a disguise moustache. My “standing room” seat was a ticket that said “Bang Bang”, and the first song to start off the evening was Nancy’s Sinatra’s “He Shot Me Down”. The runway was made of hay, and two intertwining guns shot out Betsey’s name in neon lights at the head of the stage. The first model to make an appearance was star Kelly Osbourne, looking model-thin after having completed some time on the show “Dancing With the Stars.”

Indeed, there was a theme in the beginning with some “cops and robbers” elements. But there wasn’t really a unifying theme to the outfits of the show, other than a theme that could possibly be labeled “Old West Pure Betsey.” Her models, or looks, were categorized as the following: Banditos, Gamblers, Rangers, Vagabonds, Farm Hands, Bank Clerks, Brothelettes, Robbers, Witches, Gypsys, or Madames. There was one Queen – model Yasmina – who was a tribute to the recently deceased Alexander McQueen. During the show, The Queen came out in a white outfit, followed by a minion carrying her “royal robes” and a sign that read “Long Live McQueen.” It was a very special moment in the show. The stage even darkened and the music switched just for this moment. Lastly, before Betsey’s appearance onstage, 4 of the models (Kelly O. included) came out and lifted their skirts to reveal a special message on their bums, spelling the word L-O-V-E as a tribute V-day.

Her signature body-conscious leggings and dresses were still a hit, and many of her outfits included her flared 80’s-style skirt that she started doing in some of her first fashion shows. She included some wild Peter-Pan style hats with feathers, hats with birds perched on the tops, and vintage cowboy boots on many of the models. There were some outrageous outfits, including a fuzzy lime-green bell-bottomed suit, and a pink and lime green ensemble. Although these might never make it to her store, these outfits were truly visual delights when coming down the runway. My most favorite outfits included a black hooped-skirt dress, the Marilyn Monroe Warhol-style printed items, and all of the printed onesies of the show. But of course, one of my favorite moments was seeing the Betsey cartwheel, and the sparkly heart on Betsey’s bum. And at the very end of the show, as the models came out and danced, and bounced around gigantic red heart-shaped beach balls, it became obvious that this was not only MY favorite show to see, but Betsey’s show was also their most favorite show in which to model. Fashion should be fun – and outfits in a collection SHOULD have names like “Ace Up Your Sheath”, “Motor Mama Get-Up”, “Chicken Pot Peplum”, and “Feedbag Bustle Flounce”. Well, why not?


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