Betsey Johnson has teamed with Torrid, the City of Industry, Calif.-based plus-size retailer, for a collection called Torrid x Betsey Johnson, which blends Johnson’s design aesthetic with Torrid’s fit expertise.
The line, which ranges from sizes 10 to 30, launches on torrid.com and in 200 Torrid locations on Oct. 26.
Johnson’s designs come from her 1988 and 1989 runway shows and span ready-to-wear, accessories and intimates. Overall, there are 63 pieces in total, including 21 apparel items, seven intimates, as well as jewelry, bags, keychains, sock sets, shoes/boots and hosiery.
The Betsey Johnson team provided the inspiration for the collection from their archives including sketches, fabrics and runway imagery, while the Torrid team designed the merchandise.
Among the looks are a puff-sleeve corset top, tartan strapless dress, tartan button front blazer, hook and eye peplum jacket, and silver metallic tulle dress. Retail prices range from $15 for smaller accessories such as the key chains up to $228 for the shiny tulle strapless minidress.
The deal is for two seasons: holiday 2020 and spring 2021.
Liz Muñoz, chief executive officer of Torrid, has been a fan of Johnson’s designs for a long time.
“I spent my high school and college years so in love with Betsey Johnson and what the brand was doing in the Eighties,” Muñoz said. “I wanted it so bad but was never able to fit into it. I used to drive to her store in Topanga [Calif.] and get inspired, and then go home and make myself my own Betsey outfit. Getting to bring the brand to life for the Torrid customer is a dream come true.”
Muñoz was named ceo of Torrid in August 2018, having previously been president. She joined Torrid in 2010 from Lucky Brand Jeans, where she was president.
She believes that Johnson’s designs will appeal to the Torrid customer.
“Our customer loves the classic Betsey Johnson look — her rock ‘n’ all prints with skull, leopard, plaid and cabbage roses. We survey our customers often to determine how Torrid can best serve them, and the response we got to a collaboration with her showed that Betsey resonates with our customers just as much as she does with me. I can’t wait to see how they rock this collection,” Muñoz said.
The line will be introduced with a holiday collection, inspired by the 1988 and 1989 runway shows, and there will be additional collections that will roll out for spring that also take inspiration from classic Johnson collections.
Asked why she wanted to team with Torrid, Johnson told WWD, “I’m the lucky one. Torrid wanted to team up with me. I was happy to hear that the Torrid team wanted to try out ‘Me’ in their stores — the true blue Betsey. My biggest supporter — Liz the ceo, grew up knowing and wearing clothing she created inspired by my stuff and made the collaboration happen — she just gets me.”
The 78-year-old designer, who is known for her feminine and whimsical designs, said the collection features “red hot plaid, luscious leopard and the sprinkling of my favorite prints of flowers, tattoos and happy cherries.”
This isn’t Johnson’s first foray into plus sizes. In the past, she has designed plus-size dresses for Dia & Co. and Macy’s.
As for whom she envisions wearing the new collection Johnson said, “For any girl — it’s important that she loves herself, loves her body and is confident to rock how she looks. I hope that this collaboration is a thrill for my new customers, and I hope I make my true blue, long time, faithful customers happy.”
Johnson added that the direction that fashion is going is still pretty and pink. “My favorite work was done in the Eighties and Nineties, so my new stuff is inspired by that time zone. I want it to still be fun and timeless,” she said.
Torrid, which was established in 2001, is the leading retailer of apparel, intimates and accessories for curvy women. The company was acquired by Sycamore Partners in 2013, and today there are 608 Torrid stores in the U.S. and Canada.
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