Betsey Johnson Feels Very Lucky

Designer Betsey Johnson with CBS correspondent Serena Altschul. Courtesy CBS News

Betsey Johnson in her new home, California; Courtesy CBS News

And to me, it’s just a lot of good luck, and the talent and the work. But the luck for me has been the most important.” ~ Betsey Johnson

Betsey Johnson feels very lucky. CBS Correspondent Serena Altschul interviewed the 74 year old fashion designer about her life and her loves. Although she has hinted that she may be done with her runway shows, she is certainly not ‘done’ with other things! In fact, there is too much left for Betsey Johnson to create. For more than 50 years, since the 1960s, Betsey Johnson has given girls and women the chance to feel unique and fun. Growing up, Johnson never studied fashion or design but she always felt that she knew how to “do it,” as she says. Just doing it seems to come naturally to Betsey Johnson; she raised her daughter Lulu on her own, she survived breast cancer and bankruptcy. And though she says that it takes hard work, talent, and luck to be a success, I would say that Betsey Johnson’s story is as much about inspiration and resilience as anything else. Just ask the hoards of young girls and women who would follow her anywhere – put me in that category!

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Alice’s Shoes of Honor

Alice’s shoes from Shoe Biz – photos supplied by Alice

I met Alice when I was in 8th grade; I thought it was 7th grade, when I had just moved to Connecticut from California, but Alice reminded me recently that we actually met in 8th. She was my best friend and my lifeline, at a time when I was woefully sad to leave a California life that I loved, and move at the peak of my awkward middle school years. We were inseparable and Alice became a part of my family until she moved away to the Midwest – which, of course, devastated me. We kept in touch as best we could but it wasn’t until years later, when we had both graduated from college and Alice returned to the East Coast to try her hand at life in New York City – that we met again. Alice found her first job with Shoe Biz, a wholesale shoe company on 5th Avenue and 58th street, across from the legendary Bergdorf Goodman and not far from the entrance to Central Park. Their shoes were Italian, French, and Spanish, and Shoe Biz sold directly to department stores, including high-end boutique, Henri Bendel. Now living in Northern California with her family, Alice and I met last week in NYC and talked about life, our friendship, those years long ago in New York, and why Alice will never part from the shoes she still owns from her days working at Shoe Biz. Here is Alice …

I had just graduated college and decided to move to New York.The year was 1983. I found the job at Shoe Biz through an employment agency, where the agent pulled cards from the catalogue as she tried to match me to an opportunity. She was about to pass over a job for a shoe model/receptionist (with a size 6 shoe) when I stopped her and told her that I wore a size 6! That was it – I got the job as a fit model and receptionist, trying on shoes for buyers – literally because my feet were the right size! … Continue reading

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Victoria Beckham Celebrates Daughter Harper in Target Campaign

Courtesy: Victoria Beckham for Target

The inspiration behind this campaign is – a world of possibilities – make believe – imagination – and the unexpected.” `~ Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham for Target collection launches on April 9 but the full lookbook is here – and it’s a celebration of the life and relationship Beckham shares with her daughter, Harper. It’s personal to Beckham and everything is lovingly designed. Much like Beckham’s VVB line (which Beckham started in 2011 when she was pregnant with Harper) and describes as the “younger sister to my ready-to-wear collection,” the campaign is whimsical and full of unique touches that feature 200 pieces and carry across women’s, girls’, toddler, and baby categories. The pieces range in price from $6 to $70, but the best part is that most items cost under $40. Says Beckham: “I see this collection being worn by everyone, everywhere. It’s fun. It’s functional. And it’s really cool as well.” I plan to be one of that ‘everyone!’ and pick out a treat for myself – I am thinking of a dress!

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Why We All Love Annie Hall

InStyle, featuring Alexa Chung; photographer, Matthew Sprout

When InStyle Magazine photographed Alexa Chung channelling Annie Hall’s iconic style, I smiled a huge smile. One of my all-time favorite movies, Annie Hall is a love affair waiting to happen; love of New York, love of romance, love of comedy, love of Diane Keaton as Annie Hall – and especially her style. She was so effortless in her attitude. “Feminine masculinity,” is how Alexa Chung describes Annie Hall’s style and I would have to agree: hats, high-wasted trousers with men’s style shirts and ties, vests, and blazers – costume designer Ruth Morley worked closely with Keaton to create the look and it was pure Annie Hall. It was also my mother’s style of the 1970’s – and this film brought my mom to the screen!

The best part about watching Annie Hall, though, is that I have shared it with my son, Eric. When we watched it together for the first time about a year ago (I hadn’t realized he had seen it before) it was so much fun to see it through his eyes! He of course did not realize that as I was laughing my head off (how about that car scene with a young Christopher Walken!?), I was also swooning over every outfit and every look of Annie Hall! La ti da! 

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Fashion Versatility

Photo by Linda Colarusso

Today, my outfit was a soft pair of light pink chenille pants paired with a black blazer, blouse with a tie, and kitten heels. I felt like being dressy. Yesterday, I wore bell-bottom camel-colored pants with a peach-colored sweater, comfortable and easy. And the day before it was a long black skirt with super-high wedge black boots for an added edge. There was a moment this morning as I was getting dressed, when I asked myself if it was okay that my outfit today was so different from the one I wore yesterday. I actually started to question myself – isn’t it weird to dress so differently, one day from another? But then … I came to my senses! Fashion isn’t about sticking with a theme or dressing of one attitude one day to the next. Fashion is about self expression and allowing your clothes on the outside to reflect your mood on the inside. Who feels the same way every day?

It’s okay to present one version of yourself one day, and another version the next. It’s no big commitment, either – easy to change, easy to update – just a chance to express yourself for the day. This is simply, fashion versatility!

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The Original Athleisure: Juicy Couture Tracksuit

As more people embrace the athleisure fashion trend it is good to remember that there was an original – the Juicy Couture tracksuit. There can be no denying that this velour staple was the first to take the concept of casual-as-day-wear to the next level and it took off like wildfire – with celebrities leading the trend. Even though it reached its peak of popularity in the 2000s, there is news that it is making a comeback; in fact, the Juicy Couture tracksuit is alive and well. Last July, Bloomingdales introduced the Juicy Couture Black Label for an exclusive capsule collection of the classic tracksuits – famous J-zippers and all. And just as it was in the early 2000s, celebrities have embraced the comeback with a vengeance. Celebrities, and me …

I purchased a Juicy tracksuit in classic pitch black. There is something so cozy about wearing velour and I love the simple high style of this casual go-to which I will wear for exercise and beyond. Says Brooke Jaffe, Operating Vice President, Fashion Director, Women’s Ready-To-Wear at Bloomingdales, “Current fashion trends are about elevating casual sportswear…and velour is velvet’s casual antidote.” Go Juicy!

Photos by Abrina Hyatt

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Vogue Arabia Launches in print this Spring

Model Gigi Hadid on the Inaugural Cover of Vogue Arabia – Credit: INEZ AND VINOODH

My technical difficulties behind me, I am so happy to be with you again, sharing stories and Turning Fashion Inside Out!

Fashion news of the day: Vogue is launching Vogue Arabia’s print edition this spring. On the inaugural cover is model Gigi Hadid, who appears in a beaded headscarf styled by designer Brandon Maxwell and shot by Inez and Vinoodh. The launch takes place in the middle of a politically charged moment but perhaps the fashion community will lead the way to world-wide acceptance and representation. Says Hadid about her cover (on her Instagram account): “I think the beautiful thing about there being international Vogue’s is that, as a fashion community, we are able to celebrate, and share with the world, different cultures. Being half-Palestinian, it means the world to me to be on the first-ever cover(s) of @voguearabia, and I hope that this magazine will show another layer of the fashion industry’s desire to continue to accept, celebrate, and incorporate all people & customs and make everyone feel like they have fashion images and moments they can relate to… & learn and grow in doing so.”

And the first ever editor-in-chief of Vogue Arabia, Saudi Princess Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz, joins Hadid in her desire to represent the Arab world: “I want the magazine to be a love letter to Arabia.” Her passion for fashion has defined her life and now as editor-in-chief, she has a chance to lend her expertise, influence, and point of view (something she has pioneered for a long time) to this important role. “I didn’t grow up with a Vogue of my own,” Abdulaziz says, “one that reflected my identity, that reflected my background, my area, my authenticity. So for me to actually be present for that? It makes it very, very beautiful.

Please keep the conversation going and subscribe now! Love, Melissa

 

 

 

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Turning Fashion Inside Out

Credit: Patricia Saxton

I miss you! I have been having some technical issues with my social media settings. I plan to be up and running – and posting – again very soon! Stay tuned … Love, Melissa

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The Look of Love is in my Eyes

I love red. Bright, cherry red. It is and always has been my favorite color to wear. This Valentine’s Day, I wore my new red dress by Maje that I bought at a crazy sale price. The entire week I have thought about the different kinds of love. The truth is that there isn’t just one kind of love – there are many. Because love has no boundaries. Is it wrong that one of the loves of my life is the color red? Wearing it makes me happy and brings out the best in me. We are good together. If that isn’t love, I don’t know what is! I love red.

Dress, Maje, heart pendant, Baccarat

Photo by Abrina Hyatt

 

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Today I am a Costume Designer!

Some of the chosen 1960’s-style accessories – Photo: Susan Olson

Some of the chosen 1960’s-style accessories – Photo: Susan Olson

When I started the assignment I had no idea how satisfying it would be. I had volunteered to help my friend and costume designer Katherine during the preparation of the local high school production of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. I told her to put me to work in any capacity, that I simply wanted to be a part of the costume crew. When Katherine told me that she would like me to accessorize the female performers’ costumes I was thrilled. This musical is set in an office in the heart of the 1960’s and I would be accessorizing the students portraying young women who worked in the secretarial pool. Fashion in the 60’s was full of color and silhouette. Accessories were simple but bold. Outfits were color-coordinated and highly accessorized and a bit matchy-matchy; big button earrings, brooches, bright necklaces, and headbands rounded out the accessories.  Continue reading

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