PHOTO BY PASHA ANTONOV WWDMilestones
Three decades in,
Bacon, shown here
and in 1978, keep
the show going.
2 WWD, TUESDAY, JULY 22, 2008
inside4 magic johnson: Betsey Johnson’s 30-year
career has been one wild ride.
6 behind the hype: Ceo Chantal Bacon
refl ects on a sizzling history.
10 pretty in punk: The designer has
kept her affi nity for sweet-yet-
14 still strong: A second life in the
16 license to thrill: Welcome to
Betseyville and beyond.
18 store thoughts: Retail remains a key
component of the brand’s success.
20 a star turn: Outfi tting multiple generations
of rock royalty, from Janis Joplin to Amy
22 freewheeling: Leave it to Betsey to transform
a runway into a gymnastics showcase.
A look from
A Betsey Johnson store.
A Betsey Johnson
▲PHOTO BY PASHA ANTONOVBetsey primps,
By Jessica Iredale
IT’S 12 O’CLOCK ON A SWELTERING NEW YORK CITY
summer day — July 3, in fact — and Betsey Johnson, like
everyone in the city, is considering her holiday weekend
getaway plans. “Well, I don’t know what I’m doing, but I
think, unless I hear from my man lover…,” said Johnson
at the very top of the interview, trailing off as she alludes
to the fact that, at age 65, life is no less fun than it was
when she started her collection 30 years ago.
As Johnson’s candid comment implies, she’s not
exactly the grandmother next door. With her plati-
num Raggedy Ann-style extensions and pixielike body,
today swathed in purple Alexander McQueen harem
pants, a turquoise tank, purple shirt and a sparkly
shrug, Johnson has the spunk of a twentysomething.
She’s obviously still capable of turning heads. As for
her frisky friend, he’ll remain nameless. “Oh, I can’t
say,” she demurred, turning the conversation back to
its intended subject: herself.
Fashion’s all-time good-time