Betsey was born in Connecticut and spent her childhood in dance classes. Her aspirations to be a dancer and her love for costumes laid the foundation for Betseys creativity and inspirationwhich is still evident in her designs today. In 1964Betsey officially entered the New York fashion scene by winning Mademoiselle magazines Guest Editor Contest. One year latershe landed the top designer position for Paraphernaliaa clothing boutique that at the time housed the hottest young London designersincluding Mary Quant and Paco Rabanneamong others. What would soon become known as Betseys trademark look began its formulations here sexy silhouetteshippie inspired flowing fabricswhimsical detailing andmost importantlya fabulous fit.
Now firmly part of what was considered the Youth QuakeBetsey soon found herself in the unforgettable 1960s Warhol scene. Edie Sedgwick was her house modelwhile the Velvet Undergrounds John Cale took to wearing her designs both on-stage and off. In 1969Betsey began her foray into retail by opening a new boutique called Betsey Bunki Nini. Directly following the opening store Betsey was offered a job from Alvin Duskin in San Francisco and thus began living a bi-coastal life for the remaining years of the 60s.
Along with the new decade came new career opportunities for Betsey and in the early 1970sshe came into creative control of the label Alley Cata label which set the trends for the 70s rock n roll clothingwith bohemian and ethnic styles. In 1972along with HalstonBetsey won the coveted Coty Award becoming the youngest designer to ever receive the honor.
After a decade of designing for other labelsBetsey decided to make a dramatic change in her life and in 1978she formed a partnership with Chantal Bacon and started the Betsey Johnson labelas it is known today. Designing for herself allowed Betsey the creative freedom to execute her vision to its fullest potential. The same year Betsey and Chantal launched their first retail store in the heart of Soho. In the early 80sthey were one of the first to open a store on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeleshelping the street to gain its worldwide recognition as one of the best shopping areas of the 1980s. Today there are over sixty-five Betsey Johnson stores worldwide. International expansion came in 1998 with the opening of the wildly popular London store. In 1999 the Vancouver store opened marking the companys first move into Canadawhere there are now four locations in various provinces. In September 2006the first Betsey Johnson store opened in Japan. Betsey Johnson clothing is also available in better department stores as well as in specialty stores throughout the United States and numerous countries around the world.
The year 2003 marked some exciting licensing endeavors for the companytaking Betseys signature prints and whimsy to new audiences with categories including handbags and lingerie. She continued this trend and has since added footwearbeltseyewearwatchesjewelryswimwearlegwearouterwear and a fragrance thus effectively emerging as not only a clothing designer but a top American Lifestyle brand.
In late 2002Betsey was honored with an induction into the Fashion Walk of Famehonoring her contribution to American fashion. A bronze and granite plaque containing an original sketchsignature and biography was embedded into Seventh Avenue sidewalk in early 2003. In March 2005the Signature Awards and NAWBO-NYC committee honored Betsey with the 2005 Lifetime Achievement Award. And following thatBetsey received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Accessories Council in November 2005. Betsey Johnson was also honored with the Designer of the Year Award at the annual Fashion Accessories Benefit Ball (FABB) in May 2007 and was recently honored with the National Arts Club Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement in Fashion in October 2009.
A survivor of breast cancerBetsey continues to be a strong advocate in the fight against the diseasemaking public appearancesparticipating in numerous fund raising events and creating one-of-a-kind items that have been auctioned off to raise funds for many charities. In 2003the CFDA asked her to be an Honorary Chairperson for the Fashion Targets Breast Cancer initiativewhich she graciously accepted. In April of 2004she was awarded another honor by the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) for her continuous fight against Breast Cancer at a prestigious ceremony hosted by Ron Perelman. In Spring of 04she teamed up with Geralyn Lucasthe author of the book Why I Wore Lipstick...to my Mastectomydesigning an accompanying t-shirt which was launched in Betsey Johnson stores nationwide in October 2004 at a series of events called Courage Nights. Courage Night continued for its second year in October 2005 where CFDA Fashion Targets Breast Cancer and SELF Magazine joined the cause. Johnson continues to supporthosting a charity event each October in her boutiques nationwide and internationallyas well as creating limited edition products from which a portion of the proceeds are donated to various breast cancer related charities.
Betsey Johnsonboth the woman and the labelis constantly moving forward and continues to keep a strong foothold in the fashion industry with no signs of letting up anytime soon. Her love of detail and design is evident in everything she does in life and in business. Her enthusiasmcreativity and boundless talent that have kept her at the forefront of fashion for the past 45 years will keep Betsey going for years to come.
Making clothes involves what I like Items that are handmade may vary in sizeshape and color
Gold tone long necklace chain with faceted cherry bead chain accent and gold tone bow and key pendant with woven faceted cherry beads and charms and crystal accents
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