Fashion's Betsey Johnson goes to therapy in made-for-TV comeback

Fri May 10, 2013 12:33pm EDT
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By Eric Kelsey

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Mother-daughter therapy, nightly branzino dinners and pulls from a mimosa-filled water bottle at the gym.

Welcome to just some of the life of Betsey Johnson, the eccentric and frenetic fashion designer whose personality goes on display in a reality television series beginning on Sunday on U.S. cable network Style.

"XOX Betsey Johnson" casts an eye on Johnson, 70, best known for her bright, girly punk dresses, and her daughter Lulu as the inseparable duo look to relaunch their fashion careers after professional and personal setbacks.

The eight-episode series is as much a psychological trip through the pair's emotional high-wire act as it is about the nuts and bolts of the fashion industry.

"I think we were always content in our lives, so the joke is 'Why not do a reality TV show when our lives were completely falling apart?'" Lulu, 38, told Reuters in a joint interview with her mother.

For the mother and daughter, who live a few doors apart in the same apartment building on New York's Upper East Side, their lives were ripping at the inseams.

Johnson, who still ends her fashion shows with a trademark cartwheel and split, was forced to shutter her company's 65 retail stores and file for bankruptcy last year while selling off her brand to footwear giant Steve Madden.

"I felt I had lost what I had built and didn't know if I could continue and get it back," said Johnson, who is now the creative director behind her brand.   Continued...

Fashion designer Betsey Johnson, co-host of "XOX Betsey Johnson", arrives at the 2013 NBCUniversal Summer Press Day at The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa in Pasadena, California, April 22, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn