Lindsey Green is an Olympic and sports obsessive and is writing this bio in the third person. She covered the 2012 London Olympics for New York Magazine and Deadspin. As the reality of having to wait another four years for a summer games set in, Lindsey, a Tech and Fashion Publicist, went through some serious competition withdrawal. So cleverly, her friends at Fashionista told her she’d be judging the greatest sporting event of all time–Fashion Week. Whatever, I’ll take it.
I’m not at a sports bar. I’m not eating buffalo wings. It’s a Tuesday night and there are no sports to watch (unless you count dance moms, which I’m DVRing). So I’ve given in and I am AT FASHION WEEK, LIVE!! And I have news for you–it’s a shit show.
No, really. We’re outside Betsey Johnson and this place is out of control, I haven’t seen anything this crazy since a bunch of Auburn fans toilet-papered a tree and a cop car on 3rd Avenue after beating Alabama in 2010–but I digress. It’s 8:30 (the show starts at 9pm) they’re at “capacity” and you can’t get in even if you’re press. There are so many people there’s actually two lines going in opposite directions and a herd of people just standing in the street. Oh boy. This could be a real disaster. If we can’t get in we have no choice but to give them an automatic zero, dashing any hopes of a Fashion Week Champion title and no one wants to do that to Betsey. Just as we’re about to give up, like an angel through the clouds or Tim Tebow through the end zone in an overtime thriller, emerges a vision from Factory PR. She came looking JUST FOR US (Swoon)! She clears the way and we are in the door. That’s worth at least 2 tenths in bonus points. (p.s. Thanks Factory PR).
There’s a vast amount of difficulty in putting on not just a runway show, but a party at the same time, however, if anyone can pull off this type of crowd pleasing event it’s Betsey Johnson.
We get inside to find that it’s not so crowded after all–it’s actually quite comfortable and people are drinking champagne out of mini sparkling wine bottles with bendy straws! There’s glitter everywhere and girls in pink party dresses are handing out Baked by Melissa Cupcakes! Alright, so the issues outside are still detrimental to the overall score, but cupcakes and champagne can heal a lot of wounds. You know what else can heal even more wounds? Cyndi Lauper, who is set to take the stage in just a few moments. The program we’ve been given alerts the crowd to what is in store. We’re going to see a retrospective of Betsey’s collections all the way from the 1960-to present day. It’s a big challenge, and we’ll see if they can keep it light, fun and entertaining so the task of watching nearly 90 looks doesn’t drag on. It looks like team Betsey will be relying heavily on crowd enthusiasm and engagement, and also…champagne (smart). Lauper gets on the stage and rocks out some tunes including True Colors and Girls Just Wanna Have Fun. Perfect choices for the evening. Girls are kicking off their shoes and standing on couches just to see. As expected, the crowd is with Betsey all the way and the overall atmosphere feels like a giant party with the added bonus of a runway show.
It’s time for the show! These models have a big task ahead of them: Break out of the boring “run of the mill” walk and have some fun. They must be engaging and they must be bold, anything flat just won’t do. Girls hold up the signs for the decade they’re wearing–60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and in comes the 00s and the styles are bonkers. Models are sporting scuba masks, carrying perfume, balloons, blow up rafts, you name it. This show has everything and the kitchen sink. I probably blinked and missed it, but I’m betting someone probably did carry a kitchen sink. The music keeps cutting out, but the crowd’s enthusiasm is so high, the models keep dancing and moving down the runway making no notice of the technical difficulties. The judges however, will be taking notice.
Betsey’s high end line is no more as most people know, so really, she can lay it all out on the runway tonight and she should just be here to have some fun, let loose and show Fashion Week what she can do. Despite the number of looks the models are having such a blast on stage you hardly notice how much time has passed. Then of course, it’s time for the all important moment–Betsey’s curtain call. If there’s ever a sporting moment to watch at NYFW it’s Betsey Johnson doing her cartwheels and splits. The 70-year-old doesn’t disappoint, she slides right down into that perfect split to a roaring crowd! What an ending for the iconic designer!
It’s not the most high fashion or high art, but Johnson is certainly the most fun of any show I’ve been to at Fashion Week and she’s always a crowd favorite–but will she be a judge’s favorite? Let’s find out.
Atmosphere (0-5) – inside 5, outside 1, average score 3
Difficulty – 5
Execution – 7.75
Total Score – 15.75
1. Marc Jacobs – 17.5
2. Diane Von Furstenberg – 16.35
3. Betsey Johnson – 15.75
Click through to see all the backstage action.
Photos: Ashley Jahncke