Betsey Johnson has the three things that most designers struggle for their entire lives: a signature look, a solid business and a legion of devoted customers. All of which allows her to kick back at her fashion shows and concentrate on entertaining the troopsand herself. This season, the show was in her workroom, the theme was "Sisters" and the cutting table was her runway.
Johnson had 22 of her staff members model the collection; you'll be shocked to discover that she hires a lot of extroverts. Everyone from Jill in PR to Marcy the receptionist to Rebecca the patternmaker worked the runway like pros, shimmying to a bluesy soundtrack and eliciting big smiles from the audiencenot to mention wolf whistles from the photographers. The clothes helped. There were clingy bias-cut satin ombré dresses, shirred chiffons, flapper-fringe skirts, sheer crocheted tops and an occasional pair of army-green knickers. The palette was relatively subdued; this season, Johnson's big on blues, pinks, peaches, brown and bronze, and fabrics like chiffon, charmeuse and matte jersey.
Johnson's clothes are overtly sexy, with plenty of boudoir influenceseyelet, lingerie ribbons, cleavage-enhancing lace and so forthbut always with a good-time Mae West spirit. Her sister act, while not for everyone, can be hard to resist.