Legendary designer Betsey Johnson’s Twitter handle is xoBetseyJohnson. The “xo” stands for hugs and kisses, which makes so much sense after meeting her in person at Belk at SouthPark mall Nov. 15. She exudes happiness. As soon as she walked into a brunch for the fashion media before her meet-and-greet with fans, she made sure everyone got a hug and a chance to have a photo taken with her. When wardrobe stylist Whitley Adkins Hamlin told her she was wearing a Betsey Johnson dress from her wedding rehearsal dinner years ago, the designer responded to the dress as if it were a dear friend she hadn’t seen in ages. “I love to see my vintage dresses,” Johnson said.
A couple of hours later, the energetic 72-year-old made her entrance to greet hundreds of fans. As her personal DJ and emcee entertained the crowd, she showered everyone with rose petals in her favorite colors, red and pink. She’s famous for the cartwheel and split she does at the end of her runway shows, but she left off the cartwheel this time. I’m sure she’s saving that for the “Dancing With the Stars” finale Nov. 25. (She was voted off after her fourth dance, but she’s excited to return for one more.)
She’s an open book – “Ask me anything!” she kept telling the media and her fans. Some words of wisdom she shared:
• She wasn’t the black sheep of her family, she was the neon pink sheep.
• Each of us has an intuition that we need to follow, regardless of what others say. She attributes that skill to helping her survive the ups and downs that come with being in the fashion business for more than four decades.
• Although she’s naturally happy and upbeat, she says she does worry that people aren’t communicating eye-to-eye anymore. That’s why she thinks fashion is more important than ever: When you wear an outfit you love, it sends a message to others about who you are.