Betsey Johnson: American Fashion Designer

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This versatile, creative “Queen of Funk” gave the world her over-the-top rock and roll fashions. Betsey Johnson, at age sixty, has been rocking the fashion industry with her unique, cutting edge styles for thirty-two years now. Betsey was born in Connecticut and spent her childhood in dance classes. Where she developed a love for movement and costumes, which laid the foundation for Betsey’s creativity and her inspiration to design. In the early 60s Betsey studied at the Pratt Institute and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Syracuse University. She moved to Manhattan when she won Mademoiselle magazine’s “Guest Editor Contest”, where she worked as an illustrator of shoes. In just one year she was offered a position as a top in-house designer for Paraphernalia, a hip, Manhattan boutique that at the time housed the hottest young London designers. She continued to expand and took creative control of the Alley Cat label. She freelanced in the mid 70s and designed everything from dancewear to kids clothes, to patters for Butterick. The Betsey Johnson label as its known today came soon after, known for her flirty over-the-top designs she never fails to impress with such creativity.

After a decade of designing for other labels, Betsey decided to make a dramatic change in her life, and in 1978 she formed a partnership with Chantal Bacon and started the Betsey Johnson label. Designing for herself allowed Betsey the creative freedom to be able to follow her own set of rules. That same year, Betsey and Chantal opened their first retail store in the center of Soho. In the early 80’s they were the first to open a store on Melrose, helping it gain recognition as one of the hottest places to shop. Today there are over 41 Betsey Johnson stores worldwide. Betsey Johnson became International in 1998 after opening the extremely successful London store. Betsey Johnson’s clothing is also available in better department stores, as well as in over 1000 specialty stores throughout the U.S.,...
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