"Fashion is all about having fun and these are clothes to have fun in." Betsey Johnson
Betsey Johnson was born in 1942. As a child, she dreamed of becoming a professional dancer, and her love of theatrics and costumes has influenced her designs. In 1964, she won Mademoiselle magazine's Guest Editor contest and was introduced to the fashion world.
She became a designer the next year for Paraphernalia (working in London with Mary Quant and Foale and Tuffin, among others) and worked for several popular labels of the era as one of the lead designers of the "youthquake" movement. Johnson was part of the Andy Warhol scene (she married John Cale, of Warhol's Velvet Underground band), and her work to this day bears his influence.
Johnson was a pioneer in the use of avant-garde fabrics. She opened her first boutique in 1969. In 1972, Johnson became the youngest designer to win the Coty Award. Johnson opened her own line under her name in 1978.
Among her creations were the "kit dress", which came with a container of foil appliques for the wearer to attach as she saw fit, and the "noise dress", hemmed with dangling metal grommets.
"Making clothes involves what I like . . . color, pattern, shape and movement." Betsey Johnson
In 1999, the Council of Fashion Designers of America gave Johnson the first ever Timeless Talent Award, and in 2002 she was inducted into New York City's Fashion Walk of Fame. Johnson's clothes are known for bold colors, whimsical styles and patterns, sexy exuberance, and a girlish atmosphere.
"I think you've got to give a girl what's missing from her closet. If something jazzy, tacky or sexy is what's missing, I provide it." Betsey Johnson
Her clothes are frequently seen on many of the top actresses and musicians of the last five decades, from Twiggy and Raquel Welch to Madonna and Cher. Her signature ending to her runway shows is to do cartwheels on the runway.