I was probably around 15 or 16 when I first discovered my one and only fashion love, Betsey Johnson. I was on a family trip in the States when I saw a hot pink store full of totally wild clothes. I dragged my parents in and scoured the racks and racks of clothes unlike I’ve ever seen before. I fell in love with a pair of jeans with hot pink stitching. They screamed me, so unique and I knew I would have felt like the hottest chick in school with those. Much to my surprise, my parents even allowed the purchase, despite the hefty price tag. Unfortunately there were none in my size and I was heartbroken to have to leave them hanging on the rack.
For years after that I would gaze longingly at the Betsey website, wishing I had an excuse for cute party dresses and fancy clothes. When I turned 21 I travelled to New York City and visited another Betsey store. I’m sure I was in there for a few hours, determined to walk out with something. After trying on endless numbers of dresses, I walked away with two gorgeous pieces. A very simple silk and lace dress that I would wear for my 21st birthday party back home, and a more conservative LBD for special occasions. I love both of those dresses and have worn them many times over the past few years.
The following year I travelled to Las Vegas with some girlfriends and again I couldn’t resist stopping in the Betsey store to find a new dress to wear out to the clubs. Again I tried on nearly every dress in my size before deciding on a royal blue Kimono style dress.
It was becoming a habit and addiction to stop in a Betsey store whenever I saw the pink retail store pop up somewhere. My friends knew that Betsey was uniquely my store and couldn’t wait to see my latest purchase.
On top of my dress purchases I’ve also collected a few jewelry pieces, perfumes, pajamas, and most recently two gorgeous pairs of platform heels that I picked up on my last Vegas trip. This past Christmas my mom even bought me the cutest new dress that I’m sadly not sure I’ll have the chance to wear for quite awhile now that I have a growing belly.
Sadder yet is the news I heard this morning. Betsey Johnson has filed for bankruptcy and after nearly 50 years in the fashion industry, will be closing their 68 retail stores across the world as a result of the American recession. I don’t consider myself much of a fashionista, but I do consider Betsey Johnson to be my one fashion icon. She captured exactly my style in her work and was the only designer I ever really loved. I wasn’t the only one that was a fan of her work. Betsey was awarded the coveted Coty Award for her work with the 70’s rock and roll line Alley Cat, then the Timeless Talent Award at the 1999 CFDA Awards, was inducted into the Fashion Walk of Fame in 2002, won the Lifetime Achievement in Fashion from the Signature Awards and NAWBO-NYC committee and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Accessories Council both in 2005, won Designer of the Year at the annual Fashion Accessories Benefit Ball in 2007 and finally in 2009 she was awarded the Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement in Fashion by the National Arts Club.
I’m sad that I won’t even be able to take advantage of store closing sales in my condition. Luckily the brand is going to disappear forever. The brand will be sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom. Sounds like another trip to NYC is in order after the nugget arrives!
Betsey Johnson, you are worthy of a million Friday Favorites in my eyes and will forever loved.