By  on November 8, 2010

Betsey Johnson wasn’t allowing any peskybusiness troubles — even losing control of hercompany — to spoil her runway fun. An odeto New York, Johnson’s show kicked off with avideo of Manhattan’s neighborhoods, her familyand herself exuberantly biking around LincolnCenter. Her models, carrying skateboards andwheels, sported madcap track jackets, bikershorts and bodysuits, then moved onto playful bustle-back gowns, Seventies floral flocksand sailor styles. The show was pure Johnson:spunky, high-octane and high-camp leading toher signature cartwheels down the runway atthe finale.

Within days, Johnson had a new businessplan and chief executive officer Susan Falk inplace, replacing longtime ceo Chantal Bacon.Steven Madden Ltd. took over a $48.8 millionloan to Johnson’s firm and then absolved theloan in exchange for ownership of the brand’sintellectual property, including the moderate collection Betseyville. Madden now haslicensing deals with the designer’s company,Betsey Johnson LLC, for it to produce theclothing and operate her boutiques and getroyalties from Johnson’s firm and its otherlicensees. Madden pumped in $3 millionto help cover BJ LLC’s operating needs overthe next five years and, in exchange, StevenMadden Ltd. gets a 10 percent equity in thatoperating company. And Johnson, it appears,is staying put as the creative engine behindthe brand.

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