For the past two seasons, Betsey Johnson — renowned for her party-atmosphere shows — has done presentations, so we were thrilled to learn the buoyant designer would be back on the runway this time. On Sunday night, she did not disappoint: Only Betsey would tee up an evening featuring cape-holding man-slaves, models who threw money into the crowd, and Kelly Osbourne carrying a dog and wearing a bowler hat and a mustache.
She also gave us a celeb sighting we’ve never had before at Fashion Week. As we trudged down the hay-covered runway and tried to will away our allergies, we spied a glittery headband in the front row and noticed it crowned the head of none other than Melissa Joan Hart. Since when is she such a huge Betsey Johnson fan? Clarissa explained it all to a reporter: “I interviewed [Betsey] for Nickelodeon when I was 16.” She also plugged her upcoming show, Melissa & Joey. “I play a girl who’s raising her sister’s two teenage kids, and Joey [Lawrence] is the nanny.” So basically, it’s like Who’s The Boss?, but for the four people in the world whose lives have been irredeemably bleak since Blossom and Sabrina the Teenage Witch went off the air. Still, we’re happy she’s working, and even though her blue satin, strapless, buttoned-and-belted blue dress was a bit like something one would’ve worn to prom back in her heyday, we’re just grateful she exited child-stardom without seeing the inside of a rehab facility.
Down the way, Gossip Girl’s Matthew Settle was giving a reporter the rundown on his recently announced stint as Billy Flynn in Chicago — meaning that in addition to following in Peter Gallagher’s televisual footsteps (as the dry-witted father of a dry-witted teen on a Josh Schwartz soap), he is also following in Gallagher’s Broadway footsteps. He does not, however, appear to be completing the trifecta by following in Gallagher’s eyebrow footsteps. Perhaps because those footsteps are too big. Of his preparations for the role, Settle said, “I’ve seen a few variations of the show. I hope the producers are open to some ideas, maybe some subtext that we can create.” We’d like to nominate a plot in which Mr. Flynn tells Jenny Humphrey to wash her face and put on some pants.
And then, the show. The show’s theme was love and Westerns, segmented into chunks titled things like “Brothelettes” and “Gypsies” and “Madames.” Kelly Osbourne — who walked three times in total — opened it to immense cheers. All the models did something: blew kisses, made finger-guns, brandished plastic pistols, pulled cash out of garter belts, and even danced to tunes as varied as “Black Betty” and “Jolene.” One model threw Melissa Joan her bowler hat, which Melissa Joan promptly put on with an enthusiastic grin. The penultimate costume was a tribute to a fallen comrade: A model in white — and with wax lips — behind whom stomped a man carrying a sign that read, “Long Live McQueen.” Then four ladies appeared in panties that, when they flashed us, spelled “LOVE,” and Betsey finished it by coming out in a mustache and pulling Patricia Field out of her seat for a weird pantomime that may explain why we thought Field was dressed like some kind of a witch cowboy. All the models followed her with giant inflatable heart balloons and batted them into the crowd — and in one case, straight into our faces. Bludgeoned by love on Valentine’s Day: That sounds about right. Oh, Betsey, how we missed you.