Betsey Johnson celebrates brides, marriage freedom

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NEW YORK (AP) — Drag queens and a transgender bride romped down Betsey Johnson's runway Wednesday with same-sex couples, a few "Real Housewives" and the 72-year-old designer's TV dance partner in a fashion show that screamed JUST MARRIED!

And, of course, Johnson did her traditional cartwheel and splits at the end, this time with one of her two adorable granddaughters.

Johnson's New York Fashion Week shows are feel good from start to finish, always flirty and a bit raunchy.

This time, she sent one of her brides down the runway in a short, see-through plastic outfit that revealed all up top. Her final bride threw a bouquet into the audience with a flourish, also half-clothed at the chest, but he was a guy.

Tony Dovolani, Johnson's toothy "Dancing with the Stars" partner, rollicked with the designer and her family before she was carried off by one of her models.

Backstage, Johnson called the show a celebration of freedom in marriage. It's "trendy and transgendy," she bubbled. "Pre nup is a part of the whole world of straight brides, gay brides, transgender marriages, everybody getting married. Finally, freedom."

Some of her brides were rockers, starlets, harlots and hip-hop lovers in multicolored ruffles and foil-like tiers of silver and teal. A few, including Camille Grammer — a former "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills" — had strategically placed puffballs, pink in her case.

Some stripped off layers of wispy seafoam skirts and the bridal looks for others had them ready for the honeymoon in nighties. She emblazoned tops in glittery "PRE NUP," a message carried into chunky necklaces as well.

"The clothes are my first shot at all kinds of brides," Johnson said. "It's been the most fun to work on this show. A lot of kind of new, more abstract ideas: see-through plastic dresses and dresses made out of scuba fabric and horse hair."

Age hasn't slowed down Johnson one bit. The new season of "Dancing with the Stars" begins Monday, Johnson and Dovolani included. She's nervous.

"He is unbelievably great," Johnson said. "Now I will really go in panic mode. I know the routine. I'm really good but I could forget in a second. Seventy-two-years-old. Grandma. It could just slip my mind, but I can't wait."


AP writer Nicole Evatt contributed to this report


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