Betsey Johnson Spring/Summer 2015

Cicek Erel, Web Managing Editor

When Betsey Johnson arrives at New York Fashion Week, she doesn’t just put on a runway show — she throws a party. For Spring/Summer 2015, Johnson celebrated marriage and equality with an ‘80s-inflected bridal collection. “Prenup,” as the show was named, presented a whimsical walk down the aisle with a series of spunky bridal pieces that instilled a sense of pride and joy in both the models and the audience.

With Christina Milian and J. Alexander spotted in the front row, the adrenaline in the room was high even before the show began. But once the lights dimmed and the first models walked out, the bridal theme took on a stronger, more inspiring purpose. As two same gendered couples, male then female, made their way down the aisle, the beautifully crafted pieces they wore brought the fantasy of a dream wedding to life.

The soundtrack ranged from funk to electronic, keeping the mood elevated throughout the show. Each piece that made its way down the aisle possessed its own unique extravagance — the vital touch of Betsey Johnson. Among the highlights were a cotton candy-multicolored tulle dress, styled with a matching headpiece and colorful jewels, as well as a white lace and tulle bridal piece that unraveled to reveal sexy lingerie.

Though Johnson always knows how to set herself apart from the seriousness of New York Fashion Week, she found a new way to outdo herself this season. The models did not fit the mold that is so often seen at Lincoln Center — that is, they were housewives, drag queens and transgender top models. Notable names on the runway included William Belli, Camille Grammer, Kristen Taekman, Isis King and Cynthia Bailey, who dazzled on the runway in a stunning, metallic silver tiered dress.

For the final look, Johnson sent down drag queen Sharon Needles in a traditional white gown. But the designer stayed true to her visual identity, and her bridal collection took risks at every turn. Needles’ dress revealed her nipples and a few tattoos, and she tossed her bouquet over her shoulder, which landed on a lucky young man in the front row.

The flower girls — Johnson’s grandchildren — followed, tossing rose petals down the runway as the designer began walking down the aisle with her Dancing with the Stars partner, Tony Dovolani. Johnson stopped to do her signature cartwheel and split, proving that at 71, an age when most of her peers are retiring, she is resilient to maintain a brand that is based on youthfulness and rebellion. Betsey Johnson could not have planned a better show to take the plunge, embracing the idea that fashion is supposed to be fun, for all genders.

Email Cicek Erel at [email protected].