Betsey Johnson Will Never Go Out of Style

In the fashion world, designer Betsey Johnson is a household name. Getting her start in the industry during the 1960’s Johnson quickly established herself as the whimsical punk-rock rebel with her quirky designs and appearance. Her name is synonymous with her bold florals and animal prints—which have appeared on everything from stationary to her lingerie. Case in point, Johnson is collaborating with Canadian lingerie and loungewear brand Knix and it’s out today. The —which features nightgowns, bras and the brand’s famous Leakproof underwear—uses Johnson’s playful and iconic prints that feel representative of an incredible gateway into her fantasy world—mixed with the comfort and reliability of Knix. We chatted with Johnson ahead of the launch about licensing her prints, the design of Knix pieces and her favourite pieces.

On building the collection: “Knix knows what they’re doing. They merchandised the collection beautifully where you have 12 pieces to pick from— I call it innerwear outerwear. [Knix] thought of me because of my print history— my love of roses, my love of leopard— for a sexy rock ‘n’ roll, punk [look.] The novelty print just seems to work out. I mean, these are prints I’ve used for years. Whatever your personality is, you’ve got a print for it.

On her love of lingerie and loungewear: “Well, I always [loved] tight, sexy lingerie. I think the 90s was [big on that trend with] slip dresses, but I’ve been working since the mid-60s. My work was always very lingerie inspired.”

On the technical component: “It’s amazing—the construction of the garments. it’s right up to the cutting edge part of what lingerie is turning into. It’s all molded. Along with the slide in and out pads and the threading detail, it’s [very] technical so bravo to the engineers. Form follows function—it’s the kind of stuff that my teenagers nieces would wear, especially the [bra top] with jeans. It’s just the most incredible space age construction. The fabric isn’t transparent—this isn’t chiffon! It’s real clothing, and also the coverage is good. It’s sexy.”

On size inclusivity: “It’s comfortable coverage. The size range is—they can dress everybody. Any size is a great size as long as you enjoy your size. I love that we have finally broken away from ‘you’re only cute if you’re skinny.’

On creating her iconic designs: “I just always did it. I mean, if there was a print to be made, it was a floral. There was always a floral, there was always a leopard. There was always a novelty [print] like the butterfly. [I was always] pretty and punk. There was always at least two sides to every girl. The [designs are] timeless and ageless.”

On evolving with the fashion industry: “I just hope to stay alive. I’m 79 and three-quarters and turning 80 in two months. I’ve been doing this since 1964. I never cared about fashion, the industry, the trends. I just kind of held my own because I stayed true to myself. I’ve worn everything I’ve made and I stand behind it. A company like Knix comes along and says ‘she must have been doing something right.’

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