Betsey Johnson on Beauty


So let's just say in the sea of 'simple' beauty we're seeing for spring, Betsey Johnson is a hot-pink, leopard-and-rosette-bedazzled island oasis. There is nothing minimal about Betsey (she's largely unaffected by "seasons," either, come to think of it). But she's always having a good time, cartwheeling at the conclusion of her runway shows, her bleached-blond extensions flapping in the wind. She loves pink lipstick and a helluva lot of eyeliner, and she just turned 70. Years old. Yes. So, on Tuesday night, we checked out her runway show/retrospective/birthday party, where Cyndi Lauper serenaded a motley crew of one-time reality tv stars, Top Model contestants, and friends with “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," which is probably Betsey's theme song, anyway. (If it isn't, it should be).

Betsey Johnson: “With beauty, I think, the more, the more! Why not, man? It is my 70th birthday, and I feel great. Yes, I’m still as blond as ever. I love being blond...I'm in pretty good shape for my age—I hate that, 'for my age'—but I’m going to do my cartwheel and split at the end. With makeup, nobody 'needs' makeup, but who cares about 'need.' If it makes you happy, have fun with it! It’s not like I ever looked like anybody else in the fashion industry. Why would I start now? I’m a grandmother and that's what matters to me and my business. The girls look amazing, don't they? Betsey girls! Fun! We’re all gonna have a good time."

John Reyman (Aveda): “Working with Betsey, it’s not just commercial, it’s fun, it's crazy, it's wild. We crimped the hell out of the hair. Really, crimped the hell out of it. Sprayed it all over with Control Force. You know, when a girl’s got her hair crimped, watch out, she's goin' out and something’s going to happen."

Gato (Maybelline): “Pin-ups and superheroes! Color! That’s what we are doing! That is Betsey! She is a superhero!"

Cyndi Lauper: “Oh, Betsey has always looked like Betsey. I've been a Betsey fan since 1980. She's the Betsey babe!"

—as told to ITG

Photographed by Alessandra Codinha in New York on September 11th, 2012.

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  • katemossdaily

    I love Betsey! Her attitude towards life is so inspiring. She looks like she's always having fun.

  • Andrea

    she is amazing! such a fun person and her show is always such a big and cool party :))

  • Jill

    "Pin-ups and Superheroes!" I'm totally going to start using that line. It kind of covers everything. Cheers to Betsey! I hope to be as active and have such a crazy life when I'm 70!

  • Joy Of Stranger Sensibilities

    she's so much fun! even though her label is gone (only for now hopefully).

  • Alice

    Betsey Betsey BETSEY!
    This woman is crazy awesome and seriously, I want to be in the same room as her just to absorb some of that insane energy and positivity.
    She always seems to be having the best time EVER and doesn't look like she takes things too seriously.
    Wild crimped hair, over-the-top makeup, funky fun colors, and joy! If that's what being a Betsey girl is about, where can I sign up?!?!
    Betsey is just so inspiring. I love that she doesn't let anything get in the way of enjoying life.
    She's seriously just wow.
    Someday, when I'm 70, I can only hope to be half as amazing as her.

    Kudos to Betsey and her amazingness! (In addition to her ability to do a cartwheel and the splits. I confess that I can't do either!)