Betsey Lee Johnson was born in Connecticut on August 10th, 1942 and spent most of her childhood in dance classes. Her love of dance and costumes were the foundation for her creativity and inspiration. She has been rocking the fashion world since the early 1960’s, even working with the iconic Edie Sedgwick as her house model, and having the Velvet Underground’s John Cale wear her designs on and off stage!
Betsey came into new opportunities and in the early 1970’s gained creative control of the label Alley Cat. This label was known for setting the trend of ethnic and bohemian styles in 70’s Rock and Roll clothing.
But still, after two decades of designing for other labels, Betsey made a powerful change in her life. By 1978, Betsey had teamed up with Chantal Bacon and created the Betsey Johnson label you know today.
The Betsey Johnson label and the designer herself have earned several awards since the beginning. In 1972, Betsey won the Coty Award, becoming the youngest designer to ever receive the honoured award. By late 2002, Betsey was inducted into the Fashion Walk of Fame for her contribution to American fashion. March 2005, the Signature Awards and NAWBO-NYC committee honored Betsey with the 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award, and within the same year, Betsey received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Accessories Council.
It’s no wonder that you’ll see her dresses anywhere, from celebrities on the red carpet (such as Rihanna and Katy Perry), to the streets of New York or even a Grade 12 graduation!
“Making clothes involves what I like and color, pattern, shape and movement and I like the everyday process and 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 and drawing attention to her beauty and specialness and her moods and movements and her dreams and fantasies.” – Betsey Johnson