Since the beginning of her career in the 1960s, Betsey Johnson has established her signature style as one of the most outlandish, flirtatious and funky to be found in the fashion industry. Think big bows, resplendent colors, over-the-top lace and flouncy layers and you pretty much have a Betsey Johnson styled design—perfect for Santa Cruz fashionistas.
My first “fancy dress” was a Betsey Johnson frock. A black spaghetti strap number with an asymmetrical hem and low cut neckline gleaned from Pacific Trading Company in downtown Santa Cruz. The beading on it was flapper-esque, and I fancied myself as an F. Scott Fitzgerald heroine when I wore it, bright red lipstick and all. Since that dress, I have obsessively followed the designer, fawning over each new season’s pickings.
Each item in her repertoire possesses the designer’s signature style—a little leopard print here, a splash of Schiaparelli pink there—and in my humble yet fashionable opinion makes the wearer feel undeniably feminine yet fierce. The Betsey Johnson brand includes apparel, intimate apparel, handbags, shoes, jewelry, eyewear, swimwear and even a fragrance that captures the designer’s special brand of whimsy. For centuries, women have been expressing their personalities through the clothes they wear, and during the last four decades, many (including myself) have chosen to do that by wearing Betsey Johnson. With a career spanning 45 years and bespeckled with myriad accolades from her peers in the fashion industry, it is clear that Betsey Johnson is here to stay.