FASHION IS A BETTER WORLD FOR HAVING BETSEY JOHNSON IN IT.
The 75-year-old fashion designer is an icon—one that has brought a much-needed sense of humor, exuberance, and fun to the world of style.
As one journalist recently said, “If Betsey Johnson didn’t exist, we’d have to invent her, simply to remind ourselves that fashion can be fun. She’s the original wild child…”
Designing since the 1960s, Johnson is known for her rule-breaking, rock ‘n’ roll-inspired, exuberant, embellished designs for everything from dresses and jewelry to specs and sunwear with ImageWear. Even today as a septuagenarian, Johnson’s business—and her designs—keep on rocking the world of fashion.
Just last year in August, the fashion phenom was honored with the Style Icon Award by the Accessories Council at its annual ACE Awards. Johnson—dressed in a signature, over-the-top paint-splattered hot pink fuchsia tutu dress with matching fingerless mesh gloves and velvet booties—made a statement on stage as she broke into a split.
Here, we get an inside look at Johnson’s wildly cool world as she sits down for an exclusive interview with EB.
EYECARE BUSINESS: What is your design ethos—and the heart + soul of your company?
BETSEY JOHNSON: “Pretty ‘N’ Punk,” flowers, stripes, flirtations, and fun!
EB: What do you love about eyewear—and what drew you to it to complete your product offering?
Johnson: It’s an element to play around with on your face and it’s an important part of you…use your glasses to be subtle or bold.
EB: Why is eyewear a crucial accessory to complete a look?
Johnson: I think with optical it’s important to “see” and important to feel that your glasses are a cool, hip, sexy, glamorous addition to your “look” and you should love your optical “look.”
EB: What inspires you most with eyewear design for your collection?
Johnson: Old movies, vintage, “sport” glasses like scuba diving, motorcycling glasses, welders, Buddy Holly-esque.
EB: What is your favorite eyewear look for Spring ‘18?
Johnson: Very big and very small. Crazy mirror color looks, fantasy mask look, velvet, sparkles, and studs—extreme!
EB: Beyond eyewear, what are you most excited about right now at Betsey Johnson, the design house and company?
Johnson: I love that my stuff is always ME…fun, happy, and kitschy. Moving to Malibu has given me a more “real” easygoing fashion sense, more creative and laid-back.
EB: How do you stay so fit? I had the honor of seeing your split in person on stage at the ACE Awards—congratulations on your award! And your fitness level. Amazing!
Johnson: Ha! Thanks! I watch my calories but I’ve got to join a “work out” something. I can always split—it comes from my acrobatics when I was young. I’m not fit, but I wanna be!