City Pulse

By Allison Warenik-Queenan

This past Monday I got the chance to live every girl’s dream and partied backstage with the iconic Ms. Betsey Johnson before her Spring/Summer 2011 show. In addition to the usual backstage hustle and bustle of hairstylists, makeup artists, nail technicians, models and press, Betsey took her pre-show space to the next level by adding a few other little details, such as a D.J., a champagne bar and candy stations to name just a few. It was like a child’s party for grown-ups and I had nothing less than a fabulous time!

The look of course was quintessential Betsey. The make-up team was lead by Sarah Lucero for Stila, who used the traditional (and I use the term traditional here very lightly) Betsey color palate of bright green and hot pink. Heavy bright green shadow circled the models’ eyes and a hot pink color defined the cheeks and lips. Brows were dark and heavy and the upper eyelids were lined and heavily mascared. The vibe was fun, youthful and wild. Every model was having a good time in it!

Peter Gray for Redken, who told me how he appreciates Betsey for giving him the freedom to create and to have fun with the looks, did hair. Peter tied hair extensions into the model’s hair using snippets of brightly colored tights (from Betsey’s legwear collection of course) creating a new take on Betsey’s own personal hairstyle. For models with shorter cuts, he used hair conditioner to mold the hair into a cool, spiky Mudd Club rock and roll style. Nails, done by Nonie Creme for Butter London, were painted bright baby pink with blue and yellow tips and were sported by everyone, including Betsey herself.

The clothing was nothing short of extraordinary. Betsey topped herself on dramatic and playful party dresses in bright, outrageous hues with plenty of layers of pouf to bring out everyone’s inner girly girl. Shoes were high. VERY high. They ranged from American flag platform boots to glitter encrusted sandals to Lucite “stripper heels” with twinkling lights inside.

The show was called “Le Tour de Betsey” and the top of the runway was set up with a movie screen continually playing a film of Betsey (with her daughter Lulu and her two granddaughters) riding her bicycle all over New York City. Her signature in hot pink was an overlay on the screen. By the time the show started I was so full of champagne, Twizzlers and Mike And Ikes that I wanted to explode but the music gave me a second wind and I started to dance in my seat as girls bounced, twirled and even skateboarded down the runway. Models ended the show, all dressed in yellow “Le Tour de Betsey”, t-shirts waving black and white finish-line flags. Betsey herself came out riding a bicycle before performing her customary cartwheel down the catwalk.

And, as Betsey is one woman who knows how to throw a good party, the goody bags were the best I’ve collected this season so far. With a blue lace Betsey thong, hot pink Betsey socks, a bottle of her lovely perfume, Redken products and Stila mascara, how can a gal not leave feeling completely satisfied? I didn’t really need the pink vodka and mint cocktail that was handed to me on the way out, but I took it anyways. Why not?

Originally published September 2010
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