The eight-episode arc, which follows a tumultuous period for Johnson from her filing for bankruptcy last year and closing her 63 retail stores to building her mother-daughter-relationship to Steve Madden taking over her company, where she is now creative director. The show was thick with Johnsons energy but also chronicles her drive to reinvent herself at an age when others are retiring.
That comeback includes a new dress line (same DNA., lower price tag) available at brand-name department stores. She says she is now ready to take on other projects, too, including, eventually writing a book.
Now, back to Johnsons reason for being in Miami. This was her first time at Mercedes-Benz Swim Week.
Rather than doing a runway show, Johnson unveiled the line at a launch party on the Betsy Hotel rooftop hyped as meet Betsey at the Betsy an event celebrating her new partnership with swimwear manufacturer Malibu Design Group.
The standout: a black one-piece called Betsey Meets Friend, featuring an iconic image of Marilyn Monroe that she describes as kind of Lichtensteiny.
I wanted this to be a little bit of pretty girl and a little bit of rock-n-roll, she says. It is all about feeling sexy and comfortable. It is all about the fit and having lots and lots of fun.
Third things third.
Before the show, Johnson was strolling down Collins Avenue and ran smack into a group of her fans.
Here they were, telling me how happy they were to see me and how much a part of their lives I have been. These were women in their 40s, she says, flinging her arms into the air as a sort of exclamation point. They still remembered wearing my stuff when they were teenagers and into being an adult, and now too. They still remembered how much fun they had in that Betsey Johnson dress they wore for the prom. They still remembered the little girl in them. I wish them happiness forever and ever.