When you RSVP to Betsey Johnson
, you’re expecting theatrics. Last season, for instance, the designer asked her runway models to do an aerobics routine incorporating Champagne bottles. For Spring, Johnson focused a little less on the extravaganza and more on the fashion. “It’s as serious as I can get,” she said backstage before the show. “It’s all about the clothes, which is very rare for me.”
When Johnson focuses on the actual garment, she tends to go with her greatest hits. She sketched out the collection of jumpsuits, bodysuits, and prom dresses in just one weekend, creating a wardrobe for any eighties-obsessed teenage girl along the way. (Are
there eighties-obsessed teenage girls?) The soundtrack, “Pretty in Pink” by the Psychedelic Furs, was really the only song that would have worked with the models’ cotton candy-colored curly wigs and silver lipstick—it helped the clothes along, too.
There was nothing surprising here, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t fun. A black cotton bodysuit with a silver zipper up the front, a sparkly silver dress with a massive tulle skirt, and the calico series—a pair of long shorts and a scoop-neck T-shirt dress in particular—were everything a girl longing for Betsey Johnson twenty-five years ago could want.
Will girls want it now? There’s certainly a market. But as Johnson said, her real business is in licenses. Fashion shows are a time for her to have a
time. And that she did, ending things with her signature cartwheel. And a split.