Betsey Johnson Tells Us About Her Reality Show Fears

This coming Sunday, May 12 (Mother's Day! Don't forget!), the Style Network will debut fashion's latest reality show: XOX, Betsey Johnson. The debut follows a pretty tumultuous year for the energetic designer, from declaring bankruptcy and closing all her stores, to throwing a huge 70th birthday bash, to Steve Madden taking over her company. We got a sneak peek at the first episode, and Betsey is surprisingly open about her past business problems and, well, everything--from her relationship with her daughter to what's really inside her water bottle while she's working out with her trainer (a mimosa). We recommend watching--it's quite entertaining. Read on for our interview with Betsey, in which she dishes on the state of her business, why she agreed to do the show in the first place, her new job "without the hard stuff," and what she thinks of the whole punk-themed Met gala (which she did not attend).
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This coming Sunday, May 12 (Mother's Day! Don't forget!), the Style Network will debut fashion's latest reality show: XOX, Betsey Johnson. The debut follows a pretty tumultuous year for the energetic designer, from declaring bankruptcy and closing all her stores, to throwing a huge 70th birthday bash, to Steve Madden taking over her company. We got a sneak peek at the first episode, and Betsey is surprisingly open about her past business problems and, well, everything--from her relationship with her daughter to what's really inside her water bottle while she's working out with her trainer (a mimosa). We recommend watching--it's quite entertaining. Read on for our interview with Betsey, in which she dishes on the state of her business, why she agreed to do the show in the first place, her new job "without the hard stuff," and what she thinks of the whole punk-themed Met gala (which she did not attend).
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This coming Sunday, May 12 (Mother's Day! Don't forget!), the Style Network will debut fashion's latest reality show: XOX, Betsey Johnson.

The debut follows a pretty tumultuous year for the energetic designer, from declaring bankruptcy and closing all her stores, to throwing a huge 70th birthday bash, to Steve Madden taking over her company.

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What are things like now? What's next? We really built a look--a pink puffy prom dress, and a punk rock and roll-y thing and made some funny, sexy shoes--we really did something. When we were in the middle of it, it was more like we were just working so hard that we didn’t ever step back and go, 'Wow, that was really something.' But [Steve Madden] saw what we were doing. Even my dresses are back and now I’m coming out with aerobic wear and I want to write a book finally. It’s just going better than ever, without the production problems and the bottom line problems and the loans to the bank, without the hard stuff. I'm really in a kind of total creative phase rather than a bottom line phase--I’m supposed to just inspire!

Speaking of punk, what are your thoughts on the new punk exhibit at the Met and Monday night's gala? I think we started in business at the peak of punk, which was 1978 and now collectors of my vintage collection call it 'punk label' and it was very punk for about eight years. I wasn’t [at the Met gala last night,] but it was really fun to have punk uptown. The Metropolitan is going to do punk?!

Who did you think looked the best? I thought the best was Madonna. She knows punk; she is that and she showed that she could blend punk and everything else and still rock it. I relate to that, I’ve been right there and done that and still love ripped fishnets and it shows that punk is timeless. The dress I thought was the most punk to me, the dress that I would have worn if I went, was Miley Cyrus in Marc Jacobs. That to me was the most true blue punk of the night--the rest were fashion interpretations of punk. The other person I like because she is the queen of punk was Vivienne Westwood.

[Even though I live uptown now,] I still look very punky and funky and out of the fashion trend loop and people enjoy me. They like seeing me and I think I can be pretty entertaining as a person walking down the street.

She's also pretty entertaining on TV. Her show debuts Sunday night at 8/7C on Style. Watch a little teaser below.