[YO! This is a long post. Like, long! If you don’t want to read, simply scroll on down and, BAM, the interview is there in all its Betsey Johnson glory!]
Welcome to the official launch of our spur-of-the-moment labor of love and fun! “We” are Leila Radan and Michele Gates, heretofore known as The Chics. If you want to get to know us better, read up on us here because we are most certainly NOT going to monopolize our first post by talking about ourselves. We would much, much rather talk to you about bigger and better, namely, Betsey Johnson.
Yes, you read right! I said Betsey Johnson, the amazing, inspiring, fun-loving wonder-woman of a fashion icon herself because, well, we got to interview her! YES! You read right AGAIN! (Great job, by the way).
A little over a month ago, Michele reached out to me, her soon-to-be partner-in-chic, and asked me if I would co-interview Betsey Johnson with her.
The day of the interview finally arrived and I had a vision of what to wear all mapped out! My shoes? Jeffrey Campbell gold glitter Litas! My dress? A prom-tastic Betsey Johnson dress I scored oh so many moons ago at Crossroads and had yet to debut! My jewelry? A black-and-white bow ring and white lacey earrings and a skullicious necklace all by Betsey Johnson! My nails? Acrylic, long, sharp, edgy and black!
Makeup ready and minutes away from needing to be in my car, I dove into my dress, hurriedly zipped it up half way, decided that the other half of my zipper’s journey needed my husband’s guidance, rushed over to him whilst envisioning myself zipped up and already in my car with Pearl Jam blasting as I sped to Macy’s to meet my fashion-icon but, instead, had my smooth morning-to-be and my delightful-fantasy-that-wasn’t jarred by the husband’s distressed part-lecture-part-calm exclamation of “WHAT DID YOU DO?!?! You are stuck in your dress! How did you get so much fabric into the zipper? I can’t even get you out of it! It’s stuck at the waist! STUCK!”
He pulled the zipper up, he tugged at it, he pulled it down, he held the fabric together and tried it all by himself, but no go. I held the fabric together and tried pulling it up and pulling it down but it wouldn’t budge! We pulled up some more, we pulled down some more, I sucked in my stomach but could not account for my hip bones’, or my breasts’, or my shoulders’ protruding existence and so the dress remained on my waist, stuck. We pulled and we pulled until the metal pull-thingy of the zipper broke! No worries, that’s what paper clips were for. I breathed deep breaths as we swooped the paper clip into the zipper and pulled some more. We pulled and we pulled and we got so serious about our pulling that we even enlisted the help of jewelry pliers to truly pull and to truly tug like we’d never pulled and tugged and, ahem, tore off the zipper head that held the paper clip in the process!
I breathed such heavy breaths that hyperventilation kicked in… my fantasy, threatened by the death of my prom-tastic dress’ zipper, lay on the line, and so I howled like no fashionista has howled before, I screamed like no diva has screamed before, I almost-but-not-quite-because-I-did-have-my-makeup-on-already-after-all cried a cry that no Betsey Johnson devotee has cried before and then I uttered the unthinkable, “CUT IT OFF! CUT OFF THE INNER LINING! CUT OFF THE STUCK FABRIC! CUT IT OFF!” and when freed from the zipper the obvious statement was howled and screamed and shrieked and almost-cried at the husband, “NOW GET THE DRESS UP, ZIP IT UP WITH THE PLIERS, AND SAFETY PIN ME IN AND MAKE SURE IT STAYS ON! NOTHING MUST INTERFERE WITH MY BETSEY JOHNSON MOMENT! NOTHING!”
Tempted to speak back but taken aback by the psychotic look in my eyes and by the fierce determination-bordering-on-delusion that only the true love of Betsey’s designs can muster in a mere mortal, the husband dutifully obliged and, somehow, I made it out of the house, somewhat shaken but ready to fashionably forge ahead with my adventure in my prom-tastic Betsey Johnson dress, my glitterific Jeffrey Campbells, my Betsey Johnson bling, my acrylic nails intact and with the fabulous addition of a vintage Betsey Johnson faux fur coat and a Betsey Johnson orange purse that provided my world with the appropriate pop-of-color it so called for.
And the rest is Chicstory. A few technical difficulties beyond our control ensued, there are snippets of wonderful conversation and shared moments with Betsey that sadly didn’t make it into the footage, but we were able to salvage 25 minutes of fabulosity to share with you. And so, without any further ado and with our dresses properly in place, we bring you the legend herself and the inspiration behind A Pile Of Chic, Betsey Johnson!