Catwalk Cut: Backstage Beauty at Betsey Johnson Fall 2013 Thursday 28 February, 2013

Tongue-in-cheek chic, vintage exercise ads and Peggy Moffitt fuel this fun and funky beauty look at Betsey Johnson Fall 2013.

Not all beauty witnessed during Fashion Week is meant to be worn. Oftentimes, it’s a springboard for a trend—a hyper-version of what you or I would ever deign to wear. It’s a look to marvel at, but maybe to never touch. For the hair at Betsey Johnson’s Fall 2013 show, this is the case—and nobody is more in on the joke than the hairstylist behind it, Rodney Cutler. “These are flying saucer wigs,” he laughs as he puffs Redken Powder Grip 03 here, there and everywhere on a colorful wig. “We’re developing a character here. The hair is simply an extension of the clothing—nothing more.” There’s no adaptation for street wear; there’s no watering it down for a how to. It is what it is—and that, Rodney says, is “chic, fierce hair.”


But if we are to take one piece of info away from this look, it’s that Redken Powder Grip can be used on synthetic hair. “Not all styling products hold up on synthetic wigs or hairpieces,” Rodney shares. “With Powder Grip, which is a matte powder texturizer, you can shape the hair. It actually holds the shape.” Good to know.


(A rainbow of wigs, supplied by EasiHair, litters a table backstage. Some wigs have been spray-painted two-tone.)


(Usually, I take pictures of other people taking pictures of models. But I’ve never captured the “model taking a selfie with her iPad” before…until now.)



The makeup also has a fun quality to it; it’s not to be taken too seriously, though, I’ll tell you right now: That bright mint green eyeliner, Stila’s Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Turquoise (available Summer 2013), is TO-DIE-FOR.


“My muse today is Peggy Moffitt,” says Stila makeup lead Domenico Briguglio. “But I want this more modern. The idea should be: 2013 manic mod.” He’s bringing his “Moffitt” babe to present-day by adding in vibrant color by way of that aforementioned Smudge Stick. “And when you introduce the black eyeliner, that turquoise really pops,” he says.

For the lips, Domenico is custom-blending a pale pink hue using Stila Convertible Color in Gerbera and Apricot Lip Glaze. “I’m calling it Barbie-pinked peach,” he says, adding, “It’s a bit of a white-based pastel, but it’s not overly frosty like the lip trend was in the ’60s.” This makes the hue instantly more wearable.


Now, in order to fully understand the nails, you need the collection’s backstory: Betsey Johnson is showing her first-ever activewear. Yes, Betsey is going to the gym rats, and backstage printouts of vintage exercise advertisements are taped all around. When the collection hits the runway, Betsey even has the models do crunches and bicep curls—albeit, using Champagne bottles as dumbbells. (This is Betsey, after all.) And emblazoned on both yoga mats and her wears is the slogan “BJ Kicks A”—and it doesn’t take a genius to decipher what that means.

“It’s all really tongue-in-cheek,” says lead nail tech Michelle Class, who’s working with new nail polish brand Morgan Taylor. “So we’ve decided to take the ‘BJ Kicks A’ slogan and put it on half of the girls’ nails.”


The other half brandish digits dressed in two coats of stark-white All White Now, and all nails are cut and filed to “a sporty length with a soft squared edge, because that’s what an active girl would wear,” says Michelle. As for pulling off white polish, she offers this advice: “Use a ridge-filling base coat to cut streaks, and then always use a good quality white polish. It’s all about the pigment content when choosing a white polish.”

What do you think of the off-the-wall Betsey Johnson beauty look? Sound off in the comments!

Karie L. Frost Signature

(Last image: Courtesy of Morgan Taylor; 3rd to last image: courtesy of Cutler/Redken; all other images property of Karie L. Frost/


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