This afternoon, we stopped by the Macy’s flagship in Herald Square to chat with Betsey Johnson about her new lower-priced collection of dresses while the zany designer decked out a window display. Johnson is tireless but her designs, well, they’re a bit tired. Here’s why.
A refresher: Johnson’s namesake label went bankrupt in April, and the decision to file for Chapter 11 was because the company couldn’t find a new investor. Since then, Johnson has been busy working on a reality show with the Style Network, an athletic collection, and a lower-priced line of dresses for Macy’s.
When we arrived at the corner of 33rd street and 7th avenue earlier this afternoon, Johnson was writing messages on the window display floor with red lipstick, and dressing mannequins in pieces from her new line, which is backed by The Levy Group, a manufacturing and distribution company that also holds the license for her outerwear.
Similarities could immediately be drawn from Johnson’s eponymous line and the Macy’s one, and the designer herself confirmed that a poufy A-line frock in the new collection is “an inch-for-inch copy of a dress when it was in my company.” Though she did add that “the fit and the look is much more commercial.”
All in all, however, the dresses are pretty much the same flirty, girly, and fun designs you’d expect from Johnson — just with less tulle. The collection includes floral peplum frocks, pleated colorblocked dresses, and polka-dotted designs, which are cute, if somewhat stale. So, is reiterating the same design in different fabric going to be enough for Johnson to remain a power player in the industry?
Take a look at pieces from the line currently on display in the Macy’s window, and tell us what you think:
this is some kind of spaceship or something.