Betsey Johnson readies herself for a cartwheel at the end of her Spring/Summer 2011 fashion show.
Photo: Getty Images
In unexpected and totally #sadface fashion news, Betsey Johnson has filed for bankruptcy. WWD reports that the 34-year-old company will close most of its stores but will keep a few flagships open in New York City as well as a few other cities. This is DEVASTATING news, especially since the company planned to have 100 stores open in 22 states this year. Also, it’s prom season. Betsey is the QUEEN of prom dresses! *deep breaths* I feel a slew of exclamation points coming on and am feeling faint at the prospect of never witnessing a triumphant Betsey cartwheel-to-splits display down the New York Fashion Week runway ever again. Thankfully, all is not lost…
According to WWD, Johnson plans to stay on as creative director of the brand, AND there will still be a runway presentation in September. Also? She’s shooting a reality show this summer which will, hopefully, put the legendary company back in the spotlight again. I cannot stress enough how important Betsey Johnson is in the landscape of fashion. Not only was Betsey herself part of the Andy Warhol scene in 1970s NYC, she ran around with history-making rock bands like The Velvet Underground and employed 1960s muse Edie Sedgwick as her first house model. Johnson’s runway shows are also, arguably, the most exciting part of fashion week with bouncing, smiling models, heavy doses of color infused with rock and roll spirit, and the aforementioned Betsey Cartwheel Finale™ which no other designer has ever topped (in my humble opinion). This is a brand that is full of youthful insouciance; it is spearheaded by a 70-year-old designer who has always embodied that spirit, too.
Still, in the wake of the recession, a luxury brand like Betsey Johnson has had to compete in the youth market with lower-priced stores like Forever 21, H&M, and Topshop. Thus, the stores and brand plan to continue, just in a different capacity. You’ll still be able to find all of your Betsey faves at department stores like Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Nordstrom in addition to the handful of remaining Betsey Johnson boutiques. According to Forbes, Betsey herself is optimistic, too. “I love our brand!” she said in a press statement. “As creative director, it’s full speed ahead at Betsey.”