City Pulse

By Patricia Wersinger

Creating hair for the bold and iconic Betsey Johnson is no easy task but Peter Gray, a world leading force in creative hair, tuned in perfectly with the eccentric designer to create a look with the same mix of ingenuity and whimsy. The inspiration for the Fall 2011 collection was Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction and Sixties’ shine lines. “There is a definite 60s Zeitgeist right now, a desire to cut hair again into bobs” Peter Gray said “no more messy pony tails, Betsy and I are going into the opposite direction”. For the show, 70 models were fitted with Jean Renault acrylic bob like wigs. After the wig was steamed and blow dried slowly with a medium hair dryer, the front fringes, the top of the head and the ends were spray painted in dark.

The middle section was then spray painted in gold. Redken Quick Dry Spray 18 Instant Finishing Spray and Redken Align 12 Ultra Straight Balm were used to hold the hair in place and Redken 02 Shine Flash was used for the middle part to bring out the shine. A piece of lace was applied to the middle gold section and used like a stencil on which black paint was sprayed. Once you pull off the ribbon of lace, the effect is stunning. That type of stenciled shine line was very popular in the sixties said Peter. Though wigs were used for the stenciling, he said that you can try to do this hairdo on your own hair. Just make sure that your hair is really flattened and silky.

Creating the face for the Betsey Johnson show is also no simple matter. The look created by Charlotte Willer, Maybelline head make up artist, was a cool spin off of Betsey Johnson herself circa1925. Foundation and powder were used all over the face first and the eyebrows were strongly defined. ‘Strong eyebrows are coming back but in a cleaner fashion than in the eighties” I heard from Charlotte and other make up artists back stage this year. A dressy Midnight blue eyeliner was used on both lids with eye shadow in a similar Midnight hue added on the right corner and lower lid and then faded subtly on each side of the eye. A tinge of gold was painted in the inner corner. Falsies Volume Express Mascara was applied voraciously and Catwalk red lipstick gave a vamp like glamour to the face. “This look can easily be replicated for an evening look “said Charlotte “just don’t paint the eye lid all the way to the eyebrow “.

For nails, ButterLondon created a perfect compliment to the collection. “This is my seventh season with Betsey and I must say we have really grown to be able to read each other’s minds “said Nonie Creme from ButterLondon. “This year, the call was for a little more sophisticated look ” she said.”We do not want to say grown up “she added with a wink “but it is definitely a different direction. There is a grunge feeling in the air, it is at all the shows whether we like or not, so we came up with a high end Patina Green Gold Nail Lacquer that suits that mood. We did not want to do Burgundy because we thought it was too tired-looking for Betsey and of course not sexy enough”. All the models’ hands and feet were painted in this new beautiful patina greengold for the show. This color is absolutely wearable for a polished yet dramatic stance.

The stenciled shine lines, vamp-like make up and patina greengold nails worked delighffully together for this 2011 Betsey Johnson Fall collection enhancing the legendary designer’s frolicsome creations and reinventing her signature style one more time with a wry note of vintage sophistication and always one of a kind splash.

Originally published February 2011
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