Betsey returned to the runway and—to prove her performance skills hadn't dulled—made sure all the high-camp high jinks of old were in place. Kelly Osbourne, looking model thin, came out first, walking on a hay-strewn surface. She exuberantly tore off the bandanna covering her face, and…yee-haw! We found ourselves in the Wild Wild West.

Johnson's inspiration this season was, modestly, 45 years' worth of her own archives. "I'm working on my stuff, being very true-blue Betsey," she said. Her signature gun prints were there in spades, accessorized with candy-bright plastic pistols; there were striped bodysuits and tutus. The models sashayed along in groups with monikers like Banditos, Madames, and Brothelettes, usually with one among their number clad in a sweater so long it required a union suit-clad male escort to carry it.

Lots of buy-now, wear-now Spring looks were added to the Fall catwalk lineup. "We're not in seasons anymore, anyway," Johnson said. "We'll show a little bit of now and a lot of later." She's always been a crowd-pleaser, above all else, and is canny enough to know that her most important audience is not so much the fashion editors and buyers in attendance, but the Betsey faithful around the globe.