Fashion Icons with Fern Mallis & Betsey Johnson Hosted by MARTINI Sparkling Wines

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Betsey Johnson & Fern Mallis
Betsey Johnson & Fern Mallis – photo by Craig Barrit/Getty

New York – The 92nd Street Y was full of energy on Wednesday night as guests gathered to see the “the energizer bunny-like” designer, Betsey Johnson. The 70-year-old fashion icon was in the hot seat with fashion industry leader and award-winning creator of New York Fashion Week Fern Mallis at the Fashion Icons Talks with Betsey Johnson hosted by MARTINI Sparkling Wines. Johnson was cheerful and bubbly as she answered questions and posed for pictures, including a playful photo with Fern Mallis and an oversized bottle of MARTINI Asti decorated with the designer’s name in silver crystals. Johnson giggled and delightfully asked, “do I get to keep this?!”

Over 500 guests gathered in the Kauffman Hall to hear the pint size queen of stylish excess dish about everything from her bankruptcy, early years at Mademoiselle, battle with breast cancer, upcoming reality show and feelings on the industry as a whole. “I love the industry! There’s no discrimination, there’s never been any of that sh**t,” according to Johnson. Although Fern tried her best to keep the consistently inconsistent designer on track, Johnson danced to the beat of her own drum throughout the interview.

Taking the audience on a journey through her life, Johnson reminisced about her early years as a designer – times filled with excitement, hard work and partying with the likes of Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol, and Lou Reed. According to Johnson, “To this day, (Lou Reed) says “I cut a really good crotch!”  When asked what it was like during that time – specifically the years she worked at the hot clothing boutique, Paraphernalia – Johnson explained, “We would work from 8am to 8pm, then go to the clubs, dance on the mattresses and pop these pink little pills!

One thing was evident throughout — nothing seems to faze Betsey! Even when it came to her recent bankruptcy troubles, she kept a positive attitude. Johnson said she was shocked to learn that she owed money to the private equity firm that bought her. “We had to pay $56 million back! And $6 million a year in interest rates!” “Yes Betsey. There is no such thing as a free loan” said Fern Mallis with a smile. Betsey also credits her fans and supporters for getting her through her difficult moments. “When my fans came up to me (after we sold) it was the first time I realized I achieved something special.” Today, Betsey now works under her longtime pal Steve Madden, who purchased the company in 2010. When the takeover happened, instead of being sad “we celebrated with cupcakes and champagne!” explained Betsey.

So what’s next for Ms. Johnson? “I hope to meet a great guy and fall in love!” “I love being in love!” The audience awed in unison.  Staying true to the Betsey-philosophy, she ended with the following advice, “Keep on kicking!

Following the discussion, VIPs got a chance to chat with Johnson and enjoy complimentary sips by MARTINI Sparkling Wines including mini bottles of MARTINI rosé, asti and prosecco.

Betsey Johnson and Fern Mallis
Betsey Johnson and Fern Mallis with a magnum bedazzled bottle of MARTINI Asti – photo by Craig Barrit/Getty
Betsey Johnson & Fern Mallis
Betsey Johnson & Fern Mallis – photo by Craig Barrit/Getty
MARTINI Sparkling Wine
MARTINI Sparkling Wine – photo by Craig Barrit/Getty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Betsey Johnson and Fern Mallis with a magnum bedazzled bottle of MARTINI Asti

 

 

Fashion Icons In-Depth Interview with Fern Mallis and Betsey Johnson Hosted By 92nd Street Y And MARTINI

 

 

Fashion Icons In-Depth Interview with Fern Mallis and Betsey Johnson Hosted By 92nd Street Y And MARTINI

 

 

Fashion Icons In-Depth Interview with Fern Mallis and Betsey Johnson Hosted By 92nd Street Y And MARTINI

 

 

Fashion Icons In-Depth Interview with Fern Mallis and Betsey Johnson Hosted By 92nd Street Y And MARTINI

 

 

 

Fashion Icons In-Depth Interview with Fern Mallis and Betsey Johnson Hosted By 92nd Street Y And MARTINI

 

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