Betsey Johnson filed for bankruptcy yesterday and announced the brand would be closing 63 of its retail stores and firing 350 of its staffers. The news came with the caveat that Johnson would stay on as creative director and continue her wholesale business, which would include a show at the upcoming Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. According to more reports released today, that may not be the case.
While Women’s Wear Daily wrote that Johnson “still plans to have a runway show in September,” a (now) former employee told ELLE magazine they “would not expect to see any more runway shows after this.”
Additionally, WSJ reports that while 63 retail outlets will indeed be closing, a handful of Johnson’s flagships in New York City and “a few other cities” will remain open. And while the original press release focused on Johnson’s lower-priced line for Macy’s, Forbes says the original line will continue to be sold at Saks, Bloomingdales, and Nordstrom.
ELLE’s source alleges that several companies came through in the weeks before the filing and that employees had high hopes. But it appears that the friction between the two different lines is exactly what prevented a last minute influx of cash.
We kept being told that things would turn around, and the discussions with the investors seemed to last a long time—they were really receptive to the ready-to-wear sector of the brand, but when it got down to licenses, everything seemed to fall apart. They weren’t agreeing with Steve Madden’s vision for the brand, which was to take it down-market at a lower price point than what’s sold in Macy’s now.”
Johnson’s “twitter machine” posted a farewell note today on Tumblr.
Hello dearest Tumblr followers! I am so sad to leave but I know Betsey will be fine and continue to fill the world with glitter, tutus and rock n roll! Betsey always says, FULL SPEED AHEAD, and that is exactly what I plan on doing! I have so enjoyed giving you all a peek at what it’s like to work at Betsey, but now it’s time to share with you my own adventures! Betsey and I will always remain close friends…maybe our paths will cross again very soon.
Hopefully all our paths will cross at a runway show in the fall.