Betsey Johnson, Life Aquatic

Since we’re in the midst of the Fall 2013 collections, it’s only fitting that today’s WHAT?!WHAT?! feature a look from one of the designers showing at New York Fashion Week: Betsey Johnson. Behold, the swim-gown:

Betsey Johnson, Fall 2013 New York Fashion Week.

I know. I don’t even know where to start.

When Jslow and I met at an ad agency in the mid-90s, we were both huge Betsey Johnson fans and owners of scads of her stuff. We’ve always admired her spirit and sense of fun, and her stores made us hyperventilate from excitement the minute we set foot on the black and white zebra carpet and got lost in racks of fuschia fake furs and pleather pants.

And then we grew up, for better or worse, and moved on to labels like Preen and Martin Margiela.

Ms. Johnson turned 70 last year and refuses to grow up, which is comforting in a world so full of change. After filing for bankruptcy and closing all of her stores, she’s about to star in a reality show in April on the Style Network with her daughter Lulu, and is coming out with her first active-collection, BJ Kicks A, which she debuted at Lincoln Center this week. She is clearly someone who learned how to “work it out.”

Would I wear this outfit even without the fins and goggles? Hell no. But that’s not the point. The point is that she’s here and infused more life into the runway than most designers half her age.

You can check out her show below. Runway indeed.

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