Betsey Johnson's Shelf Life More Than Stores, Wooden You Know?


 Known for her Pippi Longstocking hair, her over-the-top designs and kooky vivacity, betcha Betsey is ditsy about her TV show premiering Sunday on the Style Channel, dubbed "XOX Betsey Johnson" because her daughter Lulu will share the camera.

Having overcome breast cancer, Betsey saw her empire (63 retail stores too!) slip into bankruptcy last year. But she still heads her brand, specializing in accessorizing, plus swimwear, a dress collection, and whoa there -- an aerobic line.

She never wanted to become a fashion designer. Grew up learning sewing when she was little. It started when she won a design contest sponsored by Mademoiselle magazine. That was a whirl and a twirl, living with Mlle. editors at the Barbizon Hotel for women. Going to London in the summer of '64 when the Beatles and Rolling Stones were wondrous.

But she's had downsides. Like not being able to pay her rent after the magazine college issue came out, so she lived in a five-story walk up under the Brooklyn Bridge. She's been married three times but none of them fathered Lulu.

To make money, Betsey designed a T-shirt made of crocheted material topped with a velvet ribbon. It surprised everyone that mail orders began pouring in. She would go home at night and make four of them and on weekends, made 10.

Nobody beats Betsey at her own game!