Betsey Johnson Bankruptcy: Designer's Licensing Company Files For Chapter 11 (UPDATED)

Betsey Johnson LLC Files For Bankruptcy

Betsey Johnson LLC is the designer's licensing company, which oversees the freestanding Betsey Johnson boutiques, womenswear and e-commerce. The company has been in trouble for a while, with Steve Madden buying Betsey Johnson LLC's outstanding debt in 2010 and taking control over the label, including the licensing agreements.

But the company's cashflow problems remained. Now Betsey Johnson LLC will close nearly all of the designer's stores and lay off an estimated 350 staffers, reports WWD.

Before you let those tears flow, know that this isn't the complete end of Betsey Johnson. The designer, an eccentric icon of the New York fashion scene, will continue to oversee her sportswear (the moderately-priced goods found in department stores), the accessories (good ol' Betseyville) and other licenses.

It would seem, however, that the days of Johnson's signature fashion shows may be over, considering the high-end women's apparel is getting the boot. Johnson, who is the spunkiest 69 year old we've ever seen, is known for ending her runway shows with a cartwheel. When not cartwheeling, she has a penchant for drinking champagne in the office and regaling the youngsters with tales of old New York and Andy Warhol.

She also, as it was recently reported, has a reality show in the pipeline. Will the plot of the TV show include the Chapter 11 drama? Stay tuned and read more at

UPDATE: WWD now reports that Johnson still plans on staging a runway show this September. All together now: yay!

Check out some of Betsey's most fun moments!

November 1985