Learn about the life, success and style of American fashion designer Betsey Johnson.
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Betsey Johnson Fashion Designer Profile
Female: Flamboyant American designer Betsey Johnson is just as if not more outrageous as some of her designs. Since the beginning of her career and up until now, she’s been known for her feminine eccentric, over-the-top and decorated designs.
Betsey: Dress for you, for yourself or experiment too. You’ll never know unless you use yourself as your own guinea pig. You know, not fun all the time but I just think relax and enjoy it. But enjoy fashion and try some new stuff you know.
Female: She found her love and inspiration for costumes as a child when taking part in dance classes. After high school, she attended Pratt Institute, a private college in New York.
However, her fashion career started when she won a guest editor contest for Mademoiselle Magazine. Within a year, she had become the in-house designer for a Manhattan boutique Paraphernalia. By 1969, she had her own boutique called Betsey Bunki Nini. By the 70s, had control of the label that was popular with rock ‘n roll musicians Alley Cat.
By 1978 though, Johnson had started her own label and opened her first store in Soho, London. Her designs and outfits have always had an individual style and less conventional than other designers.
Johnson’s spring 1988 Collection known as Betsey’s Backyard Follies featured her own usual scoops but her collection was also making fashion news with legs being the focus. Her collection featured socks layered over leggings, mini skirts worn with thigh- high stockings and gartered belts attached to dresses made an alternating stretch inside the panels.
Her extravagant designs continued into the 90s with a range of styles that included her wacky spandex and satin concoctions to the environmental fashions of recycled materials.
Johnson’s designs weren’t intended for shy people and included colorful neon and satin spandex cutouts, poor boy sweaters, puffed sleeve dresses and pretty blooms printed dresses.
Known for her wacky punk, rock influence style, the designer’s two favorite eras were the 60s and 80s and it’s evidenced in her designs. The 60s were a big influence as she became part of both the Youth quake Fashion Movement and Andy Warhol’s underground scene. Some of her work as even bad resemblance to Warhol’s artwork.
Johnson’s catwalk displays are always entertaining and feature her signature cartwheel, sometimes followed by a dance. Her shows always hold an element of surprise and full of pretty flowery dresses and pinks, greens, yellows and orange.
As always, her clothes are feminine yet sexy with plenty of tutu’s, corsets, bloomers and long pretty dresses. And inspite of being over 60, Johnson proves that staying young is all in the mind.
To celebrate her 30th anniversary, the inspiration for Johnson was herself. For the Fall 2008 Collection, she tapped into past creations having models all with print hair showcasing short skirts and shorts along with fishnet stockings and bright red stiletto heels. Zippers also fitted predominantly.
Even outfits that are wearable pieces still bore her classic flirty twist. Johnson has brought a successful clothing empire by following her own set of rules and has now expanded her line to include handbags, accessories, hats and scarves.
Celebrating the exuberant over-the-top style, Johnson continues to rock the fashion industry with her visionary designs.