I went to the gorgeous Boathouse restaurant in Central Park tonight to celebrate my birthday. I've been itching to go again since seeing it featured in 27 Dresses, which I happen to watch every time it's on tv. (Sad I know, but I'm a sucker for any romantic comedy and find Katherine Heigl so likable and relatable.) I sat down with my family and friends, checked out the amazing views of boaters, gondoliers, and upper west side skyline, then glanced to my right and who was sitting next me but Betsey Johnson!
It always such a trill to meet a fashion icon! I had to say something right, so I gave her my card telling her I was a fashion illustrator myself and that I loved her work. She loved the card, with my sketch on it (the same one currently here in my blog header above) and said she would love to see more of my work! We chatted for a bit before I turned back to my table, and she was just delightful.
Betsey has been creating feminine and whimsical designs since opening her first boutique in 1969. That's 40 years of "girls just having fun" wearing Betsey for their bat mitzvahs, sweet 16's and prom's. She built an empire of 75 freestanding stores, is carried in over 500 department stores with licensing deals for products like luggage, shoes, and jewelry. The Betsey Johnson fashion show is always a fashion week highlight, quirky and fun and always ending with Betsey cart wheeling on down the runway.
New York Magazine recently stated that after her this coming fashion week she's headed into retirement. . . But retirement Ralph style, which means very hands on. We shall see I guess. I just hope that the Betsey esthetic never changes. She's a true fashion design rock star!
Shown above are some of Betsey's fun design sketches. The first is a submission to Michelle Obama for her inauguration dress, and the second is a prom dress sketch she created for Elle Girl Magazine. Betsey Johnson photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo.