Well before the music played, before the first cocktail was served, before the first model stepped onto the rooftop, delightfully eccentric designer Betsey Johnson was in a lower hotel-room-turned-backstage-dressing-salon prepping the models for the Saturday evening show.
"The most important thing is I want you to have fun!'' she implored as she personally planted beauty marks on the faces of each of the models. ''This swim collection is all about fun.''
The Spring/Summer 2014 swim line, meant to capture Johnson's legendary high-voltage quirk, is a whimsical collection of bows, peblums, mesh, ruffles and embellishments, built around the nautical, retro and glam rock themes. The looks were made all the more interesting with Johnson's personal styling: no small amount of baubles, wigs from the rainbow, knee socks, rose buds and licorice sticks (yes, you read that correctly).
A crowd favorite: a black one-piece called Betsey Meets Friend, featuring an iconic image of Marilyn Monroe. Even Johnson wore it to the presentation, paired with jean shorts, yellow flip flops, and a drawerful of her trademark necklaces.
Rather than a runway show, Johnson unveiled the line at a launch party at the Betsy Hotel rooftop (meet Betsey at the Betsy), an event celebrating her new partnership with swimwear manufacturer Malibu Design Group.
"My swim is for the young and the forever young! It's fun and flirty and a little bit rock and roll,'' she said. "I want my girls to feel good in my suits so it's also all about the fit.''
Betsey Johnson unveils her new swimwear styles on the rooftop of The Betsy Hotel on Miami Beach. Photo: Tomas Loewy