Known for her over-the-top dresses in floral and leopard prints, the queen of stylish excess is loved equally by prom queens, rock chicks, and bohos.
Johnson earned her first break as a 22-year-old student at Syracuse when she won Mademoiselle's "Guest Editor Contest." Johnson then nabbed a design job at the hot clothing boutique Paraphernalia, creating edgy '60s fashions and hanging out with the likes of Edie Sedgwick, Andy Warhol, and Lou Reed. After opening her own shop and freelance designing for other labels, she launched the Betsey Johnson label. Although she dabbled in high-end couture during the '90s, Johnson's bread and butter has always been her mid- priced dresses which are now available in dozens of worldwide markets along with countless of new Betsey Johnson-branded products. Still, there are signs that Johnson, now in her '60s, is looking to lighten her workload a bit. In 2007, it was announced that private equity firm bought a controlling stake in Betsey Johnson Inc., although Johnson will continue to have creative control at the company, and claims she'll stay on.
Her 1967 marriage to John Cale of The Velvet Underground lasted less than four years; a subsequent relationship with a sculptor produced a daughter, Lulu, in 1975. Lulu, who works with her mom, recently had a daughter of her own, Layla-and it's Betsey's granddaughter who's been appearing with the designer at her shows when she takes a bow and performs her customary cartwheel. [Image via AP]