So let's just say in the sea of 'simple' beauty we're seeing for spring, Betsey Johnson is a hot-pink, leopard-and-rosette-bedazzled island oasis. There is nothing minimal about Betsey (she's largely unaffected by "seasons," either, come to think of it). But she's always having a good time, cartwheeling at the conclusion of her runway shows, her bleached-blond extensions flapping in the wind. She loves pink lipstick and a helluva lot of eyeliner, and she just turned 70. Years old. Yes. So, on Tuesday night, we checked out her runway show/retrospective/birthday party, where Cyndi Lauper serenaded a motley crew of one-time reality tv stars, Top Model contestants, and friends with “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," which is probably Betsey's theme song, anyway. (If it isn't, it should be).
Betsey Johnson: “With beauty, I think, the more, the more! Why not, man? It is my 70th birthday, and I feel great. Yes, I’m still as blond as ever. I love being blond...I'm in pretty good shape for my age—I hate that, 'for my age'—but I’m going to do my cartwheel and split at the end. With makeup, nobody 'needs' makeup, but who cares about 'need.' If it makes you happy, have fun with it! It’s not like I ever looked like anybody else in the fashion industry. Why would I start now? I’m a grandmother and that's what matters to me and my business. The girls look amazing, don't they? Betsey girls! Fun! We’re all gonna have a good time."
John Reyman (Aveda): “Working with Betsey, it’s not just commercial, it’s fun, it's crazy, it's wild. We crimped the hell out of the hair. Really, crimped the hell out of it. Sprayed it all over with Control Force. You know, when a girl’s got her hair crimped, watch out, she's goin' out and something’s going to happen."
Gato (Maybelline): “Pin-ups and superheroes! Color! That’s what we are doing! That is Betsey! She is a superhero!"
Cyndi Lauper: “Oh, Betsey has always looked like Betsey. I've been a Betsey fan since 1980. She's the Betsey babe!"
—as told to ITG
Photographed by Alessandra Codinha in New York on September 11th, 2012.