This year marks Betsey Johnson’s 50th year as an iconic designer and we had access backstage for all the fun and glitter in addition to the extravagant show.
Dedicated to her childhood dance teacher, Ann K. Pimm, who made it all the way to the show at 94, Betsey showcased this season’s collection in a series of six runs of looks representing her retrospective: Limelight, Palladium, Mud Club, Electric Circus, Max’s Kansas City, Ann K. Pimm Presents. The ‘Curious Case of Betsey Johnson’ showcased a variety of eccentric and over the top looks drawing from the 60’s to now. Looks going down the runway consisted of colorblock separates, ruffled skirts, corsets, and rainbow petticoats. The show finished with the 27 models and Betsey herself carrying silver balloons down the runway following her signature cartwheel as she pranced through the crowd with a bouquet of flowers and a silver hat.
The behind the scenes action was a show in of itself, with live music, champagne, and decorations galore to commemorate Betsey Johnson’s extensive career in fashion. We had the chance to catch up with all of the glam chaos backstage with the lead artists for all the details:
Danielle Candido, lead artist, Morgan Taylor Nails said:
The inspiration is all things Betsey. We have three separate looks, we needed to match the eras that she’s representing in her retrospective. We have red glitter which is a layered look, we’re using three colors to achieve this look. We have flower power, hippie dippy, physcadelia which is a water marbling effect, we used six colors to create this look. And we have our mod nail which is a block design which we used black and white for and a little silver accent.
Kelly Thompson, lead makeup artist, Kryolan Professional Makeup said:
There’s 27 models with three different looks, and the inspiration was Betsey’s era of designing. So the first era is Betsey’s starting in dance classes and Betsey now so we ended up doing her signature lips, bright red lips and the signature dark eye but we’re patting in some glitter and stepping it up for the runway. The second look is rainbows across the eyes with bright pink and the last look is called punk paraphernalia and it’s almost like a 60’s futuristic, very graphic black and white shadow and a silvery lip so it’s going to very fun.
Ray, artistic director, Sexy Hair shared:
We’re having a great time here behind the scenes with Betsey Johnson, getting all of these models. We have a total of 27 models we’re doing today which is one of the biggest back scenes I’ve ever done. The inspiration comes from Betsey herself, the concept is from The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons, where the guy is old and he’s got this thing where he goes back in time and he ends up being a baby, it was kind of a play off of that. Betsey wanted to take the viewers throughout her fifty years of her career. So we started off with the 60’s and 70’s, 80’s and 90’s and of course today’s modern woman. So for the 70’s, we used Deborah Harry, that kind of punk 70’s but with a modern version of punk so we created a very easy to do french twist in the back, with some volume in the crown. There’s a little volume in the front and doing the twist and using the ends as a fake fringe for that punk feel to it. And then moving into the 80’s and 90’s which is a crimp look. In the 90’s, crimping really took off and it’s kind of a do it yourself natural feel with lots of man-made texture in it, it’s loose parted down in the middle almost as if she did it herself. And then for today’s modern era, which is the Hollywood glam look, it’s a kind of a Veronica Lake, Marlene Dietrich that old Hollywood, polished deep waves with a hard side part and we’re working with 27 models and one third of them will be getting each of these looks. It’s Betsey’s vision of what she wanted the hair to look like, when she wanted to work together she sent us some tears of visuals she wanted to see. We got together and created some looks on mannequins and sent them to her. She chose the ones she wanted and it just grew from there, we fine-tuned it to what it is right now and she’s really happy with the looks and we also created a limited edition hairspray for her. We surprised her with it this morning and she had no idea but it’s actually her artwork that we put on our can so it’s teamwork.
**Check out additional photos below taken by Tammy Bender (@withlovetammyb)[slideshow]