Just last month, Steve Madden took on a £31 million bank loan on behalf of Betsey Johnson to save her eponymous label from the brink, with a promise he’d buy the company completely if necessary – well, fast forward 30 or so days and the footwear designer has stayed true to his word: Steve Madden has officially taken over Betsey Johnson.
But that’s not to say Betsey’s been made redundant. Though Madden now has full ownership of the brand, Betsey will still remain at the creative helm of her namesake company and will continue to handle all design decisions, whilst he focuses on developing her daytime and footwear lines.
“Betsey is my partner. She has nothing to worry about and I will protect her,” a very happy Madden tells WWD. “She is not on the hook for anything. I am honoured to be partners with her. That’s the truth. You know how they have those concerts in Washington, D.C., where they seem to honour Tony Bennett each year? They should do that for Betsey. When you hear the name Betsey Johnson, it means something.”
Meanwhile over at Johnson HQ, it’s been a week of change what with Betsey’s long-time partner Chantal Bacon leaving the business, but nevertheless, the inimitable 68-year-old is looking forward to the future.
“I feel born again,” says Betsey. “I miss my partner Chantal, but she is off having a very happy life. Of course that makes me wonder, ‘Do I want to go there?’ But I don’t. It feels like the good ole days, starting fresh and free. For everyone, it has been a rough couple of years. Now we can finally fly.”
Here’s to hoping the new partnership works like a match made in heaven for the newly-put-together pair.