Betsey Johnson Keeps Time

Fashion icon Betsey Johnson is not only going strong after over 40 years in the fashion industry—she’s going at twice the pace of designers half her age. Still working with the whimsical, girlie and occasionally gaudy aesthetic she cultivated with her first boutique, Johnson is now releasing a timepiece collection, complete with rhinestone skulls, pink lightning bolts, and leopard print. At the launch of the collection last night at Macy’s, dozens of fans lined up for the chance to get a few moments and maybe a photo with the sprightly designer.

For Johnson, now a grandma, it was important that the line have something for everyone—even her granddaughter. “What I love is that they have stuff for [the] young: my granddaughter, who is telling time on a skull-with-a-bow-on-the-head watch… They go from kitty to grandma. They go from classic to twinkly to chic.”

Accessorizing with multiple watches last night, Johnson declared that she preferred telling time in glittery accessories than a regular clock. “I don’t like to have time on my wall; it’s too-in-your-face.”

However, two weeks after her latest runway show and days after opening her first San Francisco store, Johnson is too busy to take much time for herself anyway. “It’s a very busy time now, but I love it. I heard a great quote on the radio the other day. Mark Twain said, ‘Make your vacation your vocation,'” said Johnson. “I felt old Marky—he must have been a workaholic. But I love what I’m doing.”

Not only an inspiration for her work ethic, Johnson is also famous for the cartwheels she does at the end of every show. While Johnson says she almost fell the first time tumbling down the runway, she enjoys her take on a finale. “It’s a rough thing, but a great thing to pull off each show. I don’t practice in between, and I don’t work out!”