By Erin Moonyeen Haley
Once upon a time, (well…last August), at the Lombardi House in Los Angeles, an iconoclast pixie in the fashion world by the name of Betsey Johnson celebrated a remarkable milestone. Not only was the fashionista celebrating her 80th birthday in an industry with the vampiric tendency to devour its young-albeit-aging, she was also toasting a platinum career, one that saw her joie de vivre brand as being synonymous with all things retro, spunky, ravishingly gaudy and defiantly optimistic.
Those who couldn’t attend her birthday bash, (which included statuesque pink flamingo decor and hunky shirtless male models) can still channel the signature Betsey kitsch for the holiday season with her line of novelty bags.
In actuality, the word ‘bag’ is too pedestrian for the fare on offer. In the Kitschy Collection, purses and clutches are works of art that represent moods and holidays; fetishes and splurges, passions and daydreams. Looking at the online catalog, it is obvious that Betsey is a curator of the razzle-dazzle; of embellishing the ordinary by taking ho-hum items and overlooked accouterments and elevating them to pedestals of glitz. Her designs cull inspiration from life’s sundry details, crafting bubblegum-flavored art where others might only see a bland necessity. The result is a spectacular shopping list: Christmas-themed bags that include bedazzled flamingos and tiered presents offset by Halloween styles for the Wednesday Addams patron who prefers purses shaped like poison bottles and ouija boards.
The bags cover all ends of the frivolously fun spectrum, taking the shape of credit cards, champagne bottles, to-go coffee cups ('cup o' Betsey'), martini glasses with plump olives and television sets complete with remotes. There are even bags that channel 90s pop culture and snack foods. With such a selection, it will be easy to cross off holiday lists and still have time for treating the self.
Shop online at Betsey Johnson Collections & Accessories