A look from Betsey Johnson's new dress collection.
Photo: Betsey Johnson
It's getting kind of hard to keep up with Betsey Johnson. Between her reality show; her wacky, aerobics-filled New York Fashion Week presentation; and her much-anticipated line of dresses, the legendary designer is a very busy lady these days. We've been anxiously awaiting the release of her dresses since we heard about it in December, and yesterday the designer finally revealed the collection's lookbook. Filled with technicolor touches (and poodles!) the whimsical frocks have all of the signature Betsey Johnson flourishes. From pin-up style halter dresses with bright crinolines peeking out from under their hemlines to a neon leopard bodycon number with a tiny little whisp of a peplum, all of the looks just scream cute. And starting at $99, they're affordable, and hey, summer season is just around the corner. They're not all party dresses, though. While all of Betsey's looks are soiree-ready, you could also definitely wear them to work, or out for a night on the town. Can you tell that we're a little obsessed? Give us an a-line with a pearl-crusted collar and we'll be happy. Paging Blair Waldorf.
Betsey Johnson leading her models in their workout.
Last New York Fashion Week, we celebrated Betsey Johnson's 70th birthday with a retrospective show, and it was MAJOR. This year, however, the cartwheel queen took a totally different approach, debuting her new dress line with what a pre-show press release promised would be a classic runway show with a secret theme. As the lights dimmed and the music came up on the backlit pink runway, with the mysterious "BJ Kicks A" emblazoned at the end of it, we still had no idea what was about to go down. However, an announcer came over the speakers and told us that we would be seeing the debut of Betsey Johnson's new aerobics program AND her workout line. The aforementioned press release ALSO said that Johnson's bags, shoes, and jewelry would be worn, so with this new development we knew we were in for a doozy of a show. As the models began walking down the runway, they mimed talking onto cell phones, doing flirty kicks and winks, and generally being a-dor-able and entirely unlike the dour super serious runway gaze we're used to. The clothes themselves were a mix of workout gear, party dresses, and accessories, all styled together in a wild explosion of colors and layers. If you're trying to imagine all of those things put together, just picture a bright blue tracksuit and hot pink sneaks topped with a faux fur white tie-necked shrug. Honestly, though, it wasn't the new collection that really had everyone talking after the show, it was the very Betsey antics that ensued.
Betsey Johnson at her show in September.
Photo: Getty Images
Not that she really would ever disappear entirely, but we've got great news regardless: Betsey Johnson is baaaack! And let's just say our favorite catwalk cartwheeler is making waves in a WHOLE new way in 2013. The NYC fashion designer was the subject of a New York Times profile yesterday, where she dished on overcoming her company's financial woes, her new reality TV show, and the deets on her upcoming new label. After laying low- well, sorta- since her blowout show and birthday party back in September, we hear that the 70-year-old designer is gearing up to release a new affordable line of frilly frocks in February. Dubbed simply "Betsey Johnson," the collection of dresses will start at $99 and includes her signature spunky details like statement prints and petticoats. And like all Betsey pieces, it doesn't matter how old you are or where you live to rock these clothing. As she told us on House of Style, the Betsey girl is "any age, any girl, any woman, but it is a spirit." Most importantly, it's about having a good time.
Dabs Myla stand next to their Hello Kitty artwork.
Photo: Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com
If you're looking for a way to lift your spirits before all the holiday madness hits, we've got JUST the thing—an NYC art exhibition featuring Hello Kitty! The "Hello Kitty, Hello Art!" pop-up, which runs all weekend long at the Openhouse Gallery, features some of our favorite designers (like Betsey Johnson and Paul Frank) and artists (like Dabs Myla and Tokidoki's Simone Legno) showcasing their take on the oh-so-lovable Sanrio characters. Last night we stopped by the launch party to peep all the goodness, and, boy, we were hit with some serious surprises. First off, Betsey Johnson herself made an appearance and took some killer pics next to her artwork (peep one after the jump!), and we also got to chat up the L.A.-via-Australia art duo Dabs Myla to get ALL the deets behind their collection. (You might remember their graffiti work from the Drew Barrymore-directed "Our Deal" supervideo featuring Chloe Moretz.) Check out what the twosome, who, yes, are actually named Dabs and Myla, had to say about their Hello Kitty collab below! (And please note how adorably they finish each others sentences.)
Betsey and Lulu Johnson at Betsey's 70th birthday party.
Lulu Johnson has quite and enviable pedigree. Not only is her mom Betsey Johnson, whose 70th birthday party we just attended, but Lulu grew up right at the helm of her eponymous clothing line as both muse and design assistant (how's that for training?). It's only natural, therefore, that she would grow up to be a designer in her own right, and that's exactly what she's doing with her new line, Lulu and Allison (the 'Allison' would be her best friend and co-designer, Allison McClellen). Now, we're pretty sure anything designed my a woman who had not only grown up with a fashion designer mom but also with access to THE BETSEY JOHNSON ARCHIVE would have to be pretty bonkers. However, Lulu claims to be more down to earth, or at least less sartorially adventurous, than her mom. In a new video from The Stylish (which you can watch after the jump) Lulu describes her line as, "a line for women who still want to be hip, sexy, and cool," while Betsey describes her own line as, "very punky, very downtown Sally Brown, very MTV." First of all, we are beyond pleased to be used as a descriptor for one of our favorite designers EVER, and second of all, it sounds like Lulu will not be following directly in her mother's footsteps with her line. We're going to get to follow along the whole way, though, as the two are also about to begin a reality show.
Looks from Betsey Johnson's Spring 2013 New York Fashion Week show and retrospective.
Photo: Getty Images
Sure, it was crimped hair and cat's eyes galore backstage at Betsey Johnson but there were also heaps of photographers and cameramen scrabbling for a shot of the designer who was celebrating her 70th birthday. Betsey commemorated this birthday with a 90-outfit career retrospective during New York's fashion week even amidst financial woes that resulted in the company filing for bankruptcy earlier this year.
There was nary a somber tone during the night at Espace on Manhattan's westside, that featured a musical performance from longtime Betsey bestie Cyndi Lauper and the miniature bottles of bubbly were complemented by the effervescence of a nostalgia-tinged soundtrack from our DJ for the evening—Sky Ferreira.
Zahira Oktrabiul Pat, Sara Romero and Hannah Louise.
Photo: Courtesy of the bloggers.
Instead of wearing your heart on your sleeve, here's a tip: try showing off your music taste instead. Band tees have always been a closet MVP, and whether you’re the type to buy them in the moment at a show, hit up the thrift store for an oldie but goodie, or scour eBay for a rare original, these t-shirts are the comfiest classic that looks good with literally everything. Want proof? Then get inspired by these rocking girls below.
Can you believe it's almost summer? We can't, especially when it's still completely grey and rainy outside (*sad face*). Still, we're so down with getting in the beach-slash-picnic-slash-sunshine spirit, and one way to do that is with a festive handbag. Whether you need a school or office book bag now that will double as a beach tote later or are looking for something completely bold to change up your shoulder accessory game, we're certain you'll find these warm weather bags both delicious and summertime friendly.
Lazy Oaf French Fry Shopper, Betsey Johnson Brasil Viva Tote, ASOS Ice Cream Backpack, and Cooperative Fruit Keychain.
Photo: ASOS; Macy's; ASOS; Urban Outfitters
Nothing says summer like a vibrant array of seemingly edible handbags. Why not pay homage to that time of year when fruit is riper, ice cream is mandatory, and eating take-out in the grass is the norm? We're obsessed with this craymazing Lazy Oaf French Fries Shopper ($13.05) which is bold, bright, and hilarious. This french fry guy wants to hold your swimsuit and your snacks. Betsey Johnson's Brasil Viva Betsey Tote ($98) has summertime embroidered all over it. From the puffy pineapple and metallic watermelon slice to the gold sequined sunshine at the rim, this is perfect for pairing with a simple tank dress. Or toss an ASOS Ice Cream Backpack ($60.88)—covered in cupcakes, swirly cones, and candy—over your t-shirt, denim cut-offs, and flip flops ensemble. Don't forget to tip your keys out, too, with this adorable Urban Outfitters Fruit Keychain ($8). Who doesn't want to pull a smiling strawberry out of their handbag?
Caitie Schlisserman, Simmy Pat and Bernadeth G.
Photo: Courtesy of the bloggers
As the weather gets warmer, skirts are officially going to become THE staple in our summery wardrobes. One of our favorite (but not too frilly!) pieces is the pleated skirt. It's feminine and sooo breezy on ultra hot days, unlike the the bandage or pencil skirt. We love the fresh silhouette and texture it adds to any ensemble and how good it looks at any length! Don't believe us? Peep these three style bloggers who looked mega cute in a maxi, midi, AND mini skirt. Get the deets below!
Betsey Johnson readies herself for a cartwheel at the end of her Spring/Summer 2011 fashion show.
Photo: Getty Images
In unexpected and totally #sadface fashion news, Betsey Johnson has filed for bankruptcy. WWD reports that the 34-year-old company will close most of its stores but will keep a few flagships open in New York City as well as a few other cities. This is DEVASTATING news, especially since the company planned to have 100 stores open in 22 states this year. Also, it's prom season. Betsey is the QUEEN of prom dresses! *deep breaths* I feel a slew of exclamation points coming on and am feeling faint at the prospect of never witnessing a triumphant Betsey cartwheel-to-splits display down the New York Fashion Week runway ever again. Thankfully, all is not lost...