Betsey Johnson: Now With 100% More Nicki Minaj


Last night at Betsey Johnson, I was stalking the runway, trying to recognize if there were any celebrities around. A tiny blonde woman appeared and disappeared suddenly beside me; it was Kristin Chenoweth. (I think.) Then, just as I saw Johnny Weir, an entourage emerged from backstage. In its center was a pouf of hair. The hair was blue, and the bearer of the hair was being led, in a slow procession, by a phalanx of burly men in black suits, who were themselves surrounded by an outer circle of wiry, microphone- and camera-bearing practitioners of the craft of getting quotes from celebrities. The process of seating a major celebrity at a fashion show is prolonged, deliberate, and full of pomp; it’s not entirely unlike how I imagine the presentation of some new member of the royal household to the court could have gone in the 15th Century. Only with a little more pushing. In any case, it was gradually revealed that the hair belonged to Nicki Minaj. Then the show started — and the first models walked out to Nicki Minaj’s music.

In her second season since her company’s bankruptcy was averted by one Steve Madden playing the Daddy Warbucks role, Johnson stuck to the design tropes that are familiar to her customers: hot pink, corsetry, bright floral prints, puffball skirts, and that dress silhouette where the bodice is tight and the skirt is more of a tuffet.

Johnson’s daughter Lulu, center, opened the show. (Johnson has described Lulu’s biological father as “this sculptor guy.”)

And in what was one of the only gestures that seemed consonant with what the show notes claimed was the overall 1940s theme — if it was there, it was vague, but with this much pink who needs a “theme” anyway? — all the models had drawn-on stocking seams. On one leg was written the model’s name; on the other was written “Betsey.”

I could see Nicki Minaj rocking that floral print skintight jumpsuit in a heartbeat. Oh, what I would have given to have been privy to the front-row conversation between Minaj, gap-toothed Australian model Jessica Hart, and legendary fashion critic Lynn Yaeger. As it was, I was pretty happy to be three rows behind and a good foot and a half above Minaj; any closer and I wouldn’t have been able to see the runway through her blue candyfloss-looking wig.

I got home and immediately put on the hot pink lipstick and the hot pink clip-in hair extension that all the guests got in the goodie bags. Then I ate the goodie bag chocolate. Everyone needs a little Betsey in their lives.

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