Betsey Johnson at The Grove

I used to live near Betsey in the East Village way back when. Almost every day, she’d cheerily say, “Hi!” to me on the street. I was thrilled. I mean-Betsey Johnson! Betsey, the only one ever to make Edie Sedgwick look truly joyful; Betsey, she of Paraphernalia and bubblegum pink to the masses fame…there she was! And she’d say hi to me every day. If I hadn’t already been an unabashed fan, she’d have made me one on the spot.

Saturday I got a chance to catch up with Betsey at Nordstrom’s, where she was premiering her new shoe line as well as taping a reality show for the Style Network, (tentatively) titled “Betsey and Lulu,” following the adventures of her and her daughter. She immediately hugged me when I told her how she’d always say hi to me in our old neighborhood, then of course asked what I was doing out here.

What do you think when you see everyone with bright pink hair? Because you were the first one to wear it.

Yes! I had bright pink-with leopard spots in it! I love it. What’s old is new again and the kids think it’s all new. It’s great.

What’s your inspiration for this show?

Pink roses and champagne! And fun.  I was dressing the models and telling them, “It has to be fun, about fun! Smiles, friendly!

Your audience really spans ages. It’s great. My friends’ 15 year old daughter gave me her Betseyville bag (which I show her, to great delight.)

Shoes and jewelry-and I’m doing luggage now too-are for everyone. They fit everyone, it’s so much fun to do, and everyone loves it.

I lived in your dresses in the 80s-the florals with the gloves on strings–(here we go off on a discussion and I realize that Betsey and I could just gab for hours)–those nighties with little red roses on them-that Luxe jumpsuit w/the gold zipper!

Oh! Yes! We’re going to be doing a retrospective show, so if you still have any of those let me know. (I tell her that I think my friends do.) And I just celebrated my 70th birthday for the sixth time so far!

What a way to turn 70. And what a show!

Event Highlights:

  • Over 500 loyal Betsey Johnson fans showed up for a glimpse of the designer at Nordstrom at the Grove on Saturday 8/18.
  • Betsey designed an exclusive hot-pink studded layer cake stiletto for Nordstrom to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Grove. The shoe, named “the Grovee” was debuted at the event and will continue to be sold through the end of August at Nordstrom at the Grove (while supplies last).
  • Betsey Johnson is also launching a new dress collection that will be revealed at her “Retrospective” during fashion week.  The celebration is in honor of her 70th  birthday and to reflect on her major fashion moments throughout the years.
Donna Lethal

About Donna Lethal

Donna Lethal is the author of "Milk of Amnesia" and writes for her own blog (Lethal Dose), Hair Hall of Fame, Dowager Quarterly, Find A Death, & the Valhalla Cemetery chapter in "Weird Hollywood." A native of Lowell, Mass., she's lived in Boston, NY and London before settling here. When not writing, she's hiking, soaking in a Korean salt room or in the high desert with her pit bull.
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2 Responses to Betsey Johnson at The Grove

  1. Muscato says:

    70? I’ll have what she’s having, please!

    I’ve never known anyone who didn’t look just a little bit better in a Betsey Johnson outfit, which certainly isn’t something you can say for most designers…

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