Entrigue Magazine December 2014 October 2014 (Case Cover) - Page 54

Betsey Johnson New York designer Betsey Johnson has built her long-standing career in fashion by following her own set of rules. Known for her celebration of the exuberant, the embellished, and the over the top, Betsey has been rocking the fashion industry with her unique and original designs since the 1960’s. Her commitment to remain true to her one-of-a-kind vision has afforded Betsey continued success in an industry known for its fickleness. Her ability to change with the times while keeping her designs pure has not gone unnoticed. At the 1999 CFDA Awards, Betsey was presented The Timeless Talent Award created especially for her, which recognized her influence on fashion throughout her career. Betsey was born in Connecticut and spent her childhood in dance classes. Her aspirations to be a dancer and her love for costumes laid the foundation for Betsey’s creativity and inspiration, which is still evident in her designs today. In 1964, Betsey officially entered the New York fashion scene by winning Mademoiselle magazine’s “Guest Editor Contest.” One year later, she landed the top designer position for Paraphernalia, a clothing boutique that at the time housed the hottest young London designers, including Mary Quant and Paco Rabanne, among others. What would soon become known as Betsey’s trademark look began its formulations here: sexy silhouettes, hippie inspired flowing fabrics, whimsical detailing and, most importantly, a fabulous fit. Now firmly part of what was considered the “Youth Quake,” Betsey soon found herself in the unforgettable 1960’s Warhol scene. Edie Sedgwick was her house model, while the Velvet Underground’s John Cale took to wearing her designs both on-stage and off. In 1969, Betsey began her foray into retail by opening a new boutique called Betsey Bunki Nini. Directly following the opening store Betsey was offered a job from Alvin Duskin in San Francisco and thus began living a bi-coastal life for the remaining years of the 60’s. Along with the new decade came new career opportunities for Betsey and in the early 1970’s, she came into creative control of the label Alley Cat, a label which set the trends for the 70’s rock n’ roll clothing, with bohemian and ethnic styles. In 1972, along with Halston, Betsey won the coveted Coty Award becoming the 54 Entrigue Magazine | October 2014