Elation. It was pure elation that I felt, as a longtime fan of Betsey Johnson as a designer and a person, to see what those of us were fortunate enough to witness during the runway show of the Betsey Johnson Activewear collection for F/W 2013. It began with curiously-placed champagne bottles, sneakers and yoga mats spanning the length of the runway. The lights changed from dim to bright, dance-y pop music blasts and out skips the first model, chatting on her cell and wearing bright yellow head-to-toe. From this moment on, we could sense we were in for quite the show.
The models did not disappear backstage once they finished their catwalk. Instead, they took their places at their respective yoga mats and waited. The music died after an ear-piercing whistle was blown. Soon after, miss Betsey Johnson herself comes out- whistle blowing- and too, in her “BJ Kicks A” workout gear. You can guess what came next! The audience suddenly found themselves watching a live workout routine directed by Betsey Johnson that went on for what seemed like forever (and I’m sure longer than that to those models); I was in awe watching the 70-year-old Johnson outdo every one of those young girls as they lifted “weights” (champagne bottles), did pushups with sneakers on their hands and aerobics with Pilates bands. This may come as no surprise to those of us who are familiar with Johnson’s runway shows (cartwheels, splits and all), but to see such pure performance art and happiness exude from the designer and models alike, it was clearly a monumental moment in fashion. One for the history books.
So why the move into athletic wear? The choice was a no-brainer for Betsey because as she says, “I know dance clothes better than any clothes. I was an aerialist in the ballet.” And after filing for bankruptcy last year, she has refused to quit and plans to expand her brand to children’s clothing, products and home. It seems very natural that Betsey Johnson would have an aerobic line as her unique and fun use of prints and colors works so well with clothing that’s meant to jump around in. And as for the debut collection of BJ Kicks A, I give it an A+. From sneakers to track suits, jackets to tote bags, the line has everything you’d want from active wear and nothing you don’t. Now, when can I grab some for my own?!
Theme: “BJ Kicks A” was the theme of the runway show and is the name of a new line of active wear from the 70-years-young designer (and yes, that’s her still doing cartwheels). It’s classic Betsey Johnson- and you can go running in it!
Elements Corset-printed leggings, fur on coats and vests, and bright colors contrasting with black.
Accessories Grommet covered tote bags, studded mini duffles, white round sunglasses, boxing glove purses, colorful crew socks and studded western belts.
Shoes Neon and metallic hi-tops and black kitten-heel pointed pumps.
By Whitney S. Williams
Photography by Whitney S. Williams
See more photos on Whitney’s blog alaLadywolf.com