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Betsey Johnson is celebrating her 67th birthday with some of her favorite people — her customers.
This story first appeared in the August 10, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The contemporary designer, whose birthday is today, is bringing her collection of archived fashion shows to a wide audience on her Web site, betseyjohnson.com. Starting today, runway videos dating back to the designer’s first show in 1978 are available to everyone on the site. The show videos will also be posted weekly on Johnson’s social networking pages of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
“I’m so inspired by looking at the older shows, so I hope other people will be too,” Johnson said.
Meanwhile, on Thursday evening, the designer was decked in a bright pink tutu and “Happy Birthday” crown to make the rounds of her New York stores — first stopping at the 248 Columbus Avenue location and then off to 138 Wooster Street — where she mingled with customers to celebrate her upcoming birthday. The “Birthday Bash Marathon” event, which brought in about 100 fans per store on Thursday, allowed Johnson to greet customers, share cupcakes and lemonade and style them as they came out of the dressing rooms. The designer continued her store visits on Friday, when she stopped in at the 251 East 60th Street location and then at 1060 Madison Avenue.
“Oh, that is adorable — you just need more petticoats under there,” she said to a teenage girl at the Wooster Street store trying on a frilly white and pink dress for her upcoming sweet 16 party. “You probably don’t realize this, but, you know, boys love petticoats.”
Johnson said making the rounds at her stores is important to her, especially in a down economy.
“Anything I can do to drum up business is what I will do,” she said. “And this sort of thing is easy for me because I love seeing what the customers have to say.”
And, she added, it seems to be working. She said sales are just beginning to get better, and her bestsellers are some of her “crazier” items, such as a black and white skull-printed jumpsuit and a red and black spider-printed hoodie.
“In a way, this recession is good for me, because people are buying my craziest things,” she said. “And it’s those crazy things that I love to make.”