Friday, February 5, 2010

Betsey Johnson Crazed

After posting the Betsey Johnson Paraphernalia skirt on ebay I began looking at other vintage Betsey Johnson items on ebay. Wow...the knitwear is really amazing. This 1980s over-sized sweater was not on ebay today but I have seen it listed before. There was, however, an outfit (skirt and sweater) with the exact print, and I really want it as well as a red over-sized sweater with animals in black all over it. Oh well, someday?

Johnson was part of the "Youth Quake" in the 1960s and as we learned before one of the founding designers of Paraphernalia. Before that, she broke into the fashion industry by winning a contest with Mademoiselle magazine to be a Guest Editor. After the success of Paraphernalia, she opened a store in New York called Betsey Bunki Nini, while continuing on with Paraphernalia. By 1970, she left Paraphernalia and gained creative control over the label Alley Cat which was a junior sportswear company with an edge. At Alley Cat Johnson was able to not only have control over her designs but she also was able to design textiles which is where we get the insane vivid knitwear. Another neat thing about Alley Cat is that it was very accessible to the youth market as every item was under $100. It wasn't until 1978 that Johnson started her own label which lead to the incarnation and brand we know today. Alley Cat and 1980s Betsey Johnson are who we have to thank for these crazy sweaters. I really like Betsey Johnson a lot in general, but I think that the knits are very special.

Below are the tags for Alley Cat and Betsey Johnson called "The Punk Label" if you are looking for 80s era Betsey Johnson clothes. There are also some knitwear pieces that I have found online that are super cool. The pterodactyl sweater is actually current!

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