Betsey Johnson has easily been my favorite designer since I was in the eighth grade. I used to want to be a fashion designer myself, but found that I lack sewing skills. Instead I became obsessed with writing about Betsey’s clothes in my journal. The greatest thing about Betsey is that she wants to dress girls going to their first prom just as much as she wants to dress celebrities on the red carpet. That rock-n-roll Barbie, neon ballerina, eclectic style that Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj are known for wouldn’t even exist without Betsey’s influence.
While her clothing is whimsical and feminine, women of all ages are drawn to her designs. Betsey makes me wish I had a tea party to go to every morning and a dance party every night. Some of her frilliest fashion brings out the youth many women dream of regaining, without looking prepubescent or inappropriate. On the other side of the spectrum, her clothes have a hard, punk rock side that appeals to the rebel yell in all of us. Starlets from Emma Watson to Rihanna, Paris Hilton to Selena Gomez and Kelly Osbourne to Carrie Underwood have all dressed up in Betsey dresses for various red carpets, music videos and days spent on the street as regular girls.
Betsey is a designer like no one else, but she’s also a person unlike any other. She draws inspiration from her childhood as a dancer and joined the youthquake movement alongside Andy’s Warhol, The Velvet Underground, Edie Sedgwick and the like. Despite undergoing radiation treatment and a lumpectomy in 2002, she was inducted into the Fashion Hall of Fame the same year and received the 2009 Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement in Fashion.
Betsey once described her style as a formula: ”Take a leotard and add a skirt.” She is known for her golden hay-like hair and her end-of-show cartwheels on the catwalk.
Have you ever owned a Betsey Johnson item? Who is your favorite designer?