Latina on the Runway: Betsey Johnson's Fun and Quirky Beauty Look Explained!

A model walks the runway at the Betsey Johnson fashion show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Spring 2015 at The Salon at Lincoln Center on September 10, 2014 in New York City.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz

Backstage at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Betsey Johnson, the vibrant 72-year-old designer was spotted in a sea of models sporting dramatic eye makeup by Kryolan, big retro 60’s style hair by Big Sexy Hair and sparkling nails by Morgan Taylor. Betsey and her guests enjoyed signature pink Baked by Melissa cupcakes and sipped on sparkling wine courtesy of VOGA.   The theme of the Spring/Summer 2015 collection is “Prenup” in celebration of all kinds of love with every possible iteration of a wedding gown imaginable strutting down the runway!

Whimsical and feminine Betsey Johnson is known for some quirky designs. So, it was only appropriate to make the hairstyles for her Spring 2015 Fashion Show for New York Fashion Week the same. Together with Rafe Hardy, Artistic Creative Director, and Nadirah Volpe, Master Artist and Institute Courage Coach for Sexy Hair, the trio came up with Rita Ora-inspired styles for the runway.

Nadirah Volpe, Master Artist and Institute Courage Coach for Sexy Hair tells us step-by-step on how to construct the show-stopping hair look:

Step 1:  Separate hair across back of head from top of ear to top of other ear. Clip top half out of the way.

Step 2:  Create a French braid on bottom section using a small amount of soy paste for control. Braid should start on top of one side and move across to opposite side, then turn back around at nape back to the side you started. Ends should be tucked between the two rows of braids and secured with pins. This will provide a very strong base for pinning ends of your faux bob.

Step 3:  Curl hair into a traditional set.  For longer hair use a 1 inch iron. For shorter or more heavily layered hair, use a 1 1/4 inch iron.  Spray each section LIGHTLY with volumizing dry shampoo at roots and spray and play on ends before curling. Do not worry about having super clean sections as we don't want any visible partings.

Step 4:  Remove pins from cooled curls. Starting at the bottom, closest to the braid, begin creating bob. Using a teasing comb, elevate and backcomb each curl at base first, then lightly from mid-shaft down to base, packing in tightly. Use pick end of comb to gently rake through and define ends. Spread out base area with fingers and pin mid-shaft to braid so defined ends hang freely. Make sure pins are not visible. Repeat with each curl making sure there are no visible separations or partings at base. For thick hair use soy touchable as a working spray while sculpting the bob or for fine hair use get layered

Note: when you get to the sides make sure the base is backcombed very tightly since there is no braided base underneath. Also, on the sides, if there are short enough pieces framing the face, do not backcomb these pieces. If hair is very heavy, braid should extend to the sides as well.

Step 5:  On top, after back combing each curl, take a small piece and direct to lighter side, then take the majority of the curl and direct to the heavier side. This will ensure there is no hard part on top.  Depending on length of top, you may or may not need to secure these pieces with pins.

Step 6:  The two curls in the front will be the "fringe". Backcomb HEAVILY if hair is very long, lightly if it is short, then use pick to smooth out outer surface. Make sure this piece covers forehead before being swept to the side.

Finish style with spray and play

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Kelly Thompson, Key Make-up Artist for Kryolan New York, walks us through this simple yet dramatic makeup look that she created with Betsey Johnson. 

When I first showed up to Betsy’s office, you would have died; it is exactly what you think it is. She said she wanted something lived in and imperfect smoky eye. And I said I could do the imperfect smoky eye. And she kept saying ‘more’ and ‘add more to the lashes’. She wanted a bouncy statement without it being crazy.  So we added twiggy lashes and finished off with HD foundation and cream blush. And the little rhinestones add a beauty mark and the lips were to be very bold burgundy red and  she wanted them to look like soaking wet. So we added a whole bunch of lip-gloss. You can just do a red tint lip-gloss at home.

This is our finished look and we used the gel liner as a base and used it to get a black look as a whole. We are going for a really rounded shape. If you were trying to do this for your average everyday wear make-up you could do this with just liner and blend it in with black shadow. Come around the corner and bring it all the way around and come to the edge and wing it out. It is a messy look. We want it to make it look more lived in. You can buy these lashes online at or you can buy them at a Halloween costume store.

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