Happy Whimsical New Year

December 27, 2008 • Magazine

Happy Whimsical New Year

Happy Whimsical New Year

Sat, 2008-12-27 10:00

Bonnie J Brown

New Years, what a wonderful holiday! It’s one of the oldest holidays we still celebrate and when I say “we” I mean everyone; every race, culture, religion, creed, country…everyone. It’s a time for new beginnings, resolutions, reflections, and best of all, celebrations. After the stress and hustle of the Christmas Season it’s nice to sit back with a glass of champagne and look forward to a new and glorious new year. While there are a million and one ways to ring in the New Year and everyone has their own traditions, for a lot of people, including my friends and I, it includes wearing the perfect party dress. The New Year’s Eve dress should incorporate all that the holiday stands for and reflect the excitement of the event. For such an occasion only one designer comes to mind, Betsey Johnson. Betsey Johnson’s designs are whimsical and over the top with bright colors, bold patterns and great movement and have been since her first collection back in the 1960s.

Betsey is strongly influenced by her life’s experiences. Growing up she was a dancer and it was here where her love of costumes developed. It is with this appreciation that she is able to create dresses that bring the wearer’s fantasies alive. Another huge influence that is reflected through her designs comes from her time spent with artist, Andy Warhol and model/actress, Edie Sedgwick. This connection, along with her relationship with husband of the time, Jacob Cale of the music group Velvet Underground, led her to be a prominent designer for the youthquake fashion movement. This fashion movement impacted, as the name might suggest, 20 something’s hip to the street, art and music scene during the late 60’s and early 70’s. Color, mini skirts and an air of fun was the main purpose and was the jumping point of Betsey’s career and is when she started her Alley Cat fashion label.

Her Alley Cat designs developed into Betsey Johnson and to include clothing, handbags and accessories. Betsey’s successful career as a fashion designer is going on 40 years and is quite a rarity for the field. Her success, however, is in the fact that she stays with what works for her year after year and makes only slight changes in order to stay fresh and current. So this year I’m taking a cue from Betsey and making my New Year’s resolution to stick with what works for me and do it well and while I’m at it add some color!

1. Betsey Johnson Red Dress Collection 2007 wikimedia.org
2. Edie Sedgwick and Andy Warhol During Youthquake Fashion Movement hamptons.com
3. Vintage Betsey Johnson photobucket.com
4. Betsey Johnson Alley Cat 1970’s Maxi Dress vintage70sclothing.com
5. Betsey Johnson Spring 2009 RTW style.com
6. Betsey Johnson Spring 2000 RTW style.com

Image Layout: Allison Merzel

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