Betsey Johnson


Betsey Johnson must be the most fun grandmother in fashion. She does cartwheels down the runway and then shows a collection full of clothes any little girl would love to play dress-up in.

But while the whimsy found in her colorful clothes is appealing for its feel-good nature, Betsey’s clothes walk a fine line between looking make-believe or mature.

This time, she took us to Never Neverland, and we saw Pollyanna dresses that would be perfect for a puppet, or for a sleepy Wendy Darling. Calico prints and hoop skirts with tiers of ruffles were too country to work into a real woman’s wardrobe without looking comical. But it was the more masculine, Captain Hook-inspired separates that a girl could manage. The subversive irreverence in a female wearing a “Jack Sparrow” double-breasted sailor coat or a ruffled pirate’s shirt was deliciously sexy. The nautical theme was continued in a lobster or skull and crossbones on a knit jumper.

Johnson also made a comment on female trafficking, with her finale of frilly and corseted white gowns worn by ladies escorted (handcuffed) by their grooms. Or perhaps the designer was making a statement about the state of marriage itself?