Betsey Johnson

Infobox Person
name = Betsey Johnson

caption = Johnson at the 2007 Red Dress Collection show for The Heart Truth campaign
birth_name =
birth_date = Bda|1942|8|10|df=y
birth_place = Wethersfield, Connecticut, USA
death_date =
death_place =
death_cause =
residence = New York
nationality = American
occupation = Fashion Designer
spouse = John Cale (1968–1971;div.)
children = Lulu Johnson
website = [ Official website]

Betsey Johnson (born 10 August 1942 in Wethersfield, Connecticut) is a fashion designer best known for her feminine and whimsical designs. Many of her designs are considered "over the top" and embellished. She also is known for doing a cartwheel at the end of her fashion shows. She took many dance classes as a child and adolescent which inspired her love of costumes. After high school, Johnson studied at the Pratt Institute and then later graduated from Syracuse University where she was a member of the Alpha Xi Delta sorority. [cite web|date= 2006 | url =| title = Summer 2006 Quill - Distinguished Designer | publisher =Alpha Xi Delta | accessdate =2007-09-19]

In 1968 she married Velvet Underground's John Cale. They divorced in 1971. She had a daughter, Lulu, in 1975 who now works with her and a granddaughter Layla.

She resides in New York but spends time in a house she owns in Mexico, which she named "Villa Betsey". Betsey also converted an old, small hotel in Mexico into a house which she rents out to interested people; this is called "Betseyville", and can accommodate 8–10 people.


Johnson's fashion career started when she entered and won the "Mademoiselle" Guest Editor Contest. Within a year she was the in-house designer for the Manhattan boutique Paraphernalia. Johnson became part of both the youthquake fashion movement and Andy Warhol's underground scene, along with The Velvet Underground, Edie Sedgwick and Lou Reed.

In 1969, she opened a boutique called Betsey Bunki Nini on New York's Upper East Side. Edie Sedgwick was her house model and Johnson designed the clothing Sedgwick wore on her last film, "Ciao! Manhattan".

In the 1970s, Johnson took control of the fashion label "Alley Cat" which was popular with the rock 'n roll musicians of the day. In 1972 she won the Coty Award. In 1978, Johnson started her own fashion line and then opened up her first retail store in Soho. Today, there are over forty-five of her stores worldwide. Tara Marie is her best friend.

In 2002, Johnson was inducted into the Fashion Walk of Fame. Her bronze plaque held one of her original sketches. Then, in 2003, she expanded her line for 2004 to include handbags, accessories, hats, and scarves.

In 2008 Johnson was one of the contributors to Carrie Borzillo-Vrenna's book Cherry Bomb along with Dita Von Teese, Tori Amos, Cherie Currie of the Runaways, Terri Nunn, Lisa Loeb, Katy Perry, Jessicka, Samantha Maloney, Anna Sui, and Louise Post. [ [ LA WEEKLY July 30, 2008] ] [cite news |last=D'Andrea | first = Nicole| title =Living Like A Rockstar| publisher =PLAY New haven | date = 2002-04-03 | url = |accessdate = 2008-08-13]

Johnson has designed for many celebrities including but not limited to: Courtney Love, Sarah McLachlan, Minnie Driver, Lil' Kim, Salma Hayek, Cyndi Lauper, Heather Graham, and Helena Bonham Carter.

Her official web site has her quoted directly:

"Making clothes involves what I like…color, pattern, shape and movement…I like the everyday process…the people, the pressure, the surprise of seeing the work come alive walking and dancing around on strangers. Like red lipstick on the mouth, my products wake up and brighten and bring the wearer to life…drawing attention to her beauty and specialness…her moods and movements…her dreams and fantasies.” – Betsey Johnson


External links

* [ Betsey Johnson]
* [ Betsey Johnson: America's 25 most Fascinating Entrepreneurs]
* [ Betsey Johnson: New York Fashion Designer]
* [ Photos of Betsey Johnson Shoes]
* [ Betsey Johnson Fragrances]
* [ Sewing patterns by Betsey Johnson]

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