The ever-irrepressible Betsey Johnson called her fall 2007 collection "The Betsey Johnson School of Charm" - the theme carried through to the show invite, which was printed on a paper glove form delivered in a pair of white cotton gloves - and the designer opened her Tuesday afternoon spectacle with a pair of French maids who feather dusted their way down the runway, wearing very short uniforms and sky-high heels.
What followed was a classic, if less than thrilling, BJ mash-up: '20s-era tweed suits, '60s-era plaid coats, '30s-era crocheted dresses, '70s-era wrap dresses and, well, just about every era post-1910 was represented in some way, shape or form, though none of it felt particularly original or interesting. That's not to say there was anything inherently bad here; just that everything felt a bit once-warmed-over, and we've begun to tire of this season's vintage references, already.
There were a few looks that didn't feel like they came straight from the racks at Beacons' Closet or Screaming Mimi's, including a simple white boiled wool funnel neck dress, a camel trench with an inventive now-you-see it, now-you-don't leather waist tie, a perfectly elegant white silk blouse-and-tapered trousers combo, and an ivory ribbon embroidered chemise that looked, from a distance, like it was fashioned from plastic bubble wrap (in a good way).
The rest of the 59 looks were vintage Betsey (pun intended), though the audience didn't seem to mind the fashion deja vu at all. But then, the show's soundtrack - with remixes by Siouxsie and the Banshees, Blondie, the Clash, and even Jimi Hendrix and Michael Jackson (simultaneously) - was one of the best we'd heard all week, and the audience, which included Fran Drescher, Robert Verdi, Russell Simmons, Reverend Run, Todd Oldham and Joan Jett, hooted and hollered their approval when Johnson took to the stage with granddaughter, Layla, in tow for her semiannual runway cartwheel.
"I don’t wear a lot dresses, so I’m more appreciating the beauty of the clothes and, if I did wear dresses, what I might wear," said a surprisingly tiny Joan Jett when we caught up with her after the show. "But I thought it was beautiful. Really, really nice. And I loved the music!"
Photos © Gg/The Bigger Picture Pictures. For additional, larger images from this show, click here