News & Runway

BETSEY JOHNSON – FROM PINK TO WHITE

I live a few blocks away from one of the Betsey Johnson boutiques, so I pass by on a near-daily basis. For the last few weeks, I’ve been seeing the windows of the shop plastered with sale signs – be it “40% off” or “buy one dress, get one 50% off,” etc – and this is in the early fall when pretty much nothing is marked down. I went into the store recently and picked up a clutch that had just hit stores, and it was already marked down 40%. Needless to say, I worried that the boutique may be closing soon.

Turns out that the quirky designer is planning on opening seven to ten new freestanding stores next year, and there have been no mentions of shutterings. However, the new stores will come with a new look.

Gone will be the bright pinks, checkered floors, and flowers, and in their place will be a more sparse and white shopping environment. I love the designer’s signature pink kitsch so I’m saddened – and quite shocked — to hear that BJ is ditching it. Chantal Bacon, chief executive officer of Betsey Johnson revealed to that the company is looking to go in a “fresh, modern” direction and that the newly designed “very sparse and white” space will allow the clothes to be better showcased. Shoppers can weigh in with their own opinion, as the new concept just launched last month in the Topanga Mall in Canoga Park, California.

The change – which will eventually hit all 63 BJ boutiques – partly stemmed from Johnson’s own move from downtown New York City to the Upper East Side. There are, however, remnants of the vibrant colors from the designer’s previous stores – hot pink hangers, signature colorful petticoats hanging from the ceiling, and a portrait of Betsey Johnson printed in life-size black-and-white images on neon pink, yellow and blue dressing room curtains.