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There is no rest for the weary (or hungover), as the Fashion Week tents were buzzing with excitement this past Saturday morning when legendary designer and cartwheel gymnast extraordinaire Betsey Johnson dropped by the Diet Pepsi booth. We were prepared with so many questions to ask Betsey, but we barely finished introducing ourselves when the spirited designer just launched right into enthusiastic conversation. Totally charmed, we just decided to go with it.
"It's gonna be my best, I must say. It's definitely gonna be my best," the sprightly designer excitedly shared about her fall/winter 2011 runway show that will take place Monday night. Betsey Johnson shows are renowned for being crazy, over-the-top, near-epic productions — last season's techno-pink-infused New York City-themed extravaganza was complete with a skateboarding model and Betsey riding her bike out onto the runway.
Then she dropped the bombshell. "It's just gonna be this celebration and announcement of two collections in the company now."
"The retail, more sophisticated, more luxe, more couture, more grown up line is the 'Loves Me Not' part," Betsey explains. "Then the other half of the show — people are gonna be like 'OK, the show's over. Forty looks, it's over'. Then blackout. And it's fifty real girls. All shapes, all sizes, which is so great. I think Pepsi did jump in with me also because I've done a lot of real people shows. My clothes are not about just being skinny, it's about liking your body and wanting to rock it and be happy with it and live in it happily. So the second half is a volume and moderately-priced line. The Best of Betsey from the tattoos to the roses to the lightening bolts to all the stretchy stuff, chiffon-y stuff, all from a $150 down to $30 for t-shirts. I've wanted to do this for a hundred years and it's really fun to do it on my own and it's just been my favorite stuff that I wear. So that's what it's all about. You'll see the huge difference."
While we're still processing the information, she paused to take a breath and came upon another idea. "I think we should come down [the runway] with price tags. No...signs. Because that's the most important thing I want to say is that you can afford me now."
Betsey Johnson is also joining the legion of designers, like Burberry, Cynthia Rowley and Perry Ellis, who are offering instant retail gratification by allowing shoppers to purchase certain pieces immediately following the runway show. Betsey's one-of-a-kind Lizzzy-L boot will be available online through new owner Steve Madden. Betsey will be wearing the Lizzzy-L boot to close out tonight's show, but the actual moniker of the boot temporarily slipped her mind.
"Oh is that what they call it? The Lizzzie boot? Oh great! Between my granddaughters, my daughters and my dog, Lizzie, Layla, Lulu, Lucy. How great. I just forgot that! It's my favorite boot when I saw the collection. It's a boot that is kind of like the dancer boot that I've been wearing for a hundred years. That heeled lace-up boot that's very feminine, very twisted with ruffles and lace and raw canvas. It's got a nice grungy street style, but it's still Bridget Bardot sexy. Can can girl, but solid, too. And apparently it's online, it's available. I don't know all the ins-and-outs, but if you go online — I'll be streaming live — there are some products the tote bag, the 'He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not' t-shirt, the Lizzie boot...it's going to be available, immediately. Which is really the first time to bring in the consumer, the fans, into Fashion Week because otherwise, they're so left out. I can't even invite my bundle of friends to come to the show it just filled up so quickly. It's going to be the best one, I hope, I hope." We'll be covering the show, so stay tuned for how Betsey topped last season's spectacular.
· Betsey Johnson's Earth-Friendly Alt-Transport "Ride Me" Motif [Racked]
· Diet Pepsi Backroom [Tumblr]
· Betsey Johnson [Official Site]