Byline: Anne D’Innocenzio

NEW YORK — Not only did Betsey Johnson save big bucks by eliminating a stylist and using 65 “real people” instead of professional models for her fashion show last week, the designer said she also learned a lesson or two.
For one, Johnson said, she was surprised to find that most of these women, both slender and plus-size, picked loose-fitting clothing to wear in the show, held Sept. 13 at her showroom at 498 Seventh Avenue.
“Out of the smush, the girls picked looser, more comfortable tops, such as peasant tops, and one-size-fits-all drawstring pants. The emphasis seemed to be on comfort, not body-shaping clothes,” said Johnson.
The “models” ranged from friends such as Steven (Aerosmith) Tyler’s wife, Theresa, to women she saw on the street or at parties. The women styled the clothes themselves, and did their own hair and makeup. “I expected the bigger girls to pick the bigger clothes, and the smaller girls to pick the smaller clothes,” Johnson said.
That’s not to say Johnson will get rid of her trademark body-hugging clubwear. But she said she is adding more looser-fitting peasant tops and other styles to the line for spring.
Johnson also found that the women in her show stayed away from prints, another trademark of hers, but opted for solids with heavy embellishments and textural fabrics.”I am also going to add more separates. These women were attracted to separates, tops and bottoms, rather than dresses,” she said.