Usually by this point in Fashion Week, we’re so tired that we start hallucinating celebrities everywhere we look. While this would be divine if we were having visions of Matt Damon, instead there was a split second in which we were convinced we saw Kenneth Branagh wandering around aimlessly in a full-length man mink (strike one), and we thought this one short dude at Carolina Herrera was Lucy Liu (strike two, and we’re sorry about that gender mix-up, Lucy). Strike three came right before Betsey Johnson’s show began, when we could’ve sworn we spied America Ferrera coming down the stairs. Thank goodness it wasn’t, though, because otherwise we’d have had to take the poor girl to task for wearing leggings.
And yet for some reason, we instantly recognized reality-show D-lister Brittny Gastineau, who led Chudney Ross by the hand through the crowd. This does not speak highly of our taste, although it does mean we kick ass at the pink category in Trivial Pursuit, especially if it had visual aids.
Nigel Barker, the male Sophia Bush in terms of sheer ubiquity, sat suavely in a suit in Betsey’s front row, made up as usual of tiny tables for four. Nigel talked animatedly with a smiling Bobbie Thomas until Miss Tyra Banks swanned in, at which point he gallantly shifted over to a different chair and gave Ty-Ty Baby the one pointed more fully toward the catwalk. This might have delighted model/actress Irina Pantaeva, if she had ever noticed she was suddenly in a position to drop her program and then oh-so-accidentally brush Nigel’s leg while picking it up. Tragically, we don’t think she paid any attention, and considering she showed up wearing shoes in two different colors, it’s possible Irina’s head was somewhere else entirely. Like, where the unicorns are.
Russell Simmons, bedecked in his typical Yankees cap (what, no love for the Giants?), brought daughters Vanessa and Angela to the show — yet angled his chair away from them and toward Tyra so they could bond up a storm. There was so much whispering we almost expected one of the PR people to rap them on the wrists with a ruler or make them go stand in the corner, but both seemed totally entertained by the show — Tyra in particular, who ogled the colorful, high-heeled peep-toe Mary Janes. For a second we were worried that in her enthusiasm, she’d lean into one of the tea lights sitting on the tables and catch her weave on fire — as the girl in front of us kept almost doing — but fortunately for synthetic-hair aficionados everywhere, nobody went up in a wild conflagration.
The show itself fêted Johnson and Chantal Bacon’s 30th year in business with both new clothes and an array of Betsey’s favorites from yesteryear — as well as a moment during her signature cartwheel where her black ballet flat zipped off her foot, fortunately thudding down on the runway and not, say, on Joan Jett’s spiky-haired noggin (where we imagine it might have swung awkwardly while she hated herself for loving it — sorry, we had to). Russell Simmons told reporters that the key to Betsey’s longevity is that “she sticks to her guns” — which she did at one point quite literally, sending a model down the catwalk in a yellow Cosby sweater patterned with pistols. We doubt Dr. Huxtable would approve, but apparently guns are the new black. We also witnessed a model’s boob popping free of her dress mid-strut, but she reacted calmly — as one would, because as our forefathers used to say, what’s a 30th-anniversary party without a little nipple? —The Fug Girls