Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sugary Spring & Summer

The fun-loving Betsey Johnson does it again-and most importantly, consistently without failure.
Her Spring/Summer 2009 Collection was a confectionary swirl of cotton and chiffon in icing white fondant or in licorice black in sweet but clean tiers, ruffles, petticoats, and crinolines.

Instead of the regulatory VIP front row for celebs, she very sweetly and politely set up tables and folding chairs, stocked with cupcakes, macaroons, and candies to a vintage Seasame Street soundtrack.

The general theme was a childhood dream of fairies and pirates. To the astute observer, it was clear she was influenced by Tokyo’s Harajuku District’s Gothic and Sweet Lolitas, petticoat and pinafore teenaged girls obsessed with West European Rocco, Victorian, and Edwardian fashion.
As soon as Betsey cart wheeled down the runway as her official kickoff, a sugary parade of wearable ruffles, light cotton knickerbockers shorts, petticoat dresses reminiscing of the Eighties’ Christian Lacroix’s pouf skirt, and billowy cotton blouses in the Japanese Sweet Lolita’s candy pastels, bows and ribbons hop and skimp down the runway.

Betsey’s imagination is our entertainment. To further push the childhood dream theme, she invited “Pirates of Caribbean”’s Captain Jack Sparrow to strut and cart wheel down the runway as the lone groom tossing toy gold coins into the rapturous crowd.

Him strutting was the transition into the more edgy Gothic Lolita, the moody but more elegant of the Sweet Lolitas.

Still, the visions of cotton voile crinolines and pinafores but in more modern rompers, crop blazers, skull & crossbones t-shirt, accented with “Clockwork Orange” bowler hats in licorice black.

The black and white knickerbockers suit was downright Edwardian dapper.

The other pieces deviating from the fondant white and licorice black palette were more vintage. Seventies paisley with Rocco tailoring like the pannier dress with pockets.
Betsey Johnson infallible skills to make clothes that are so fashion-forward that they are immediately wearable right off the runway yet avant-garde enough to make them vintage investment pieces.

The jaunty styling of long sheer sweater over ruffle bloomer shorts...

or the continuation of the simple yet adorable polka dot babydoll dress/tunic the sweet but startlingly elegant ruffle white gown are commercial enough to wear as is, without alterations or moderations.
In reality, the majority of outfits can be bought and worn at the moment, as is, or be saved for the following Spring and Summer for a bunch of locations and events. The ensembles can be broken down into wearable pieces.

Licorice black or icing white, the pouf white jumper can be worn for daily errands,

the black romper for beach to bar,

and the tiered gown for the Summer soirees. Regardless of tailoring, they are terrific to wear in the sticky humidity in the city or the swelter of the beach because the majority of the collection is made out of practical cotton. With, some jersey knit and satin tossed in.

The show’s theme maybe childhood fantasy but there is not fantastical about these approachable clothes. Amusingly, this current collection is modestly cute, following the Japanese Lolita’s fashion symbolism expressing traditional Japanese traits of demureness and graciousness.

As in any runway show traditional, it ends with a bride and groom. With Betsey’s youth-driven spirit, it was the prom king and queen, with the queen wearing a dress so edgy that it’s innocent. An outfit that any tween can proudly wear to the junior high dance.

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