Through random surfing, I came across Betsey Johnson’s New York apartment before the pink, when the walls were a sunny yellow, thanks to a collaboration with fashion and interior designer and architect Tarik Currimbhoy.
Also before the pink was a period of minimalism, during which time Betsey cleared out most of her things and painted all of the walls white. This period lasted about two weeks before she decided she needed more stuff and began filling the place again and painted the walls a vibrant, happy pink.
An excerpt from an interview with Robert Sharoff:
How did it begin? I went to Mexico three years ago and saw this tiny hotel for sale on the beach in Barra de Potosi, a little fishing village not too far from Acapulco, and decided to buy it. It was a pretty spontaneous decision. It needed to be updated so I started painting and decorating and looking at wallpaper. It was the first time I had ever done anything like that. I wound up bringing 26 chandeliers and a ton of other stuff down from New York in two 54-foot moving trucks. It was a fantastic experience. It opened up anentire new world to me.
What’s the finished look? Very floral, loud, colorful and a little kitschy. I knew Andy Warhol back in the 1960s and the floral patterns and color intensities I used at the hotel – which, by the way, I have re-named Betseyville – remind me of his work.
You’re known as a funky rock and roll designer – is that the tone of the home merchandise? I do get typecast as the blast-out kid. I like girly, I like glamorous, and I like gorgeous. But that covers a lot of ground. My home collection is very personal and pretty much based on what I have in my own houses.
We’re seeing a lot of Mid-Century Modern ideas in home Merchandise right now. Is that a style you’re drawn to? No. I find that stuff a little cold and hard. And I’m not big on ’50s colors. For instance, I have an original Knoll womb chair from that period but never really liked it until I had it recovered in bright pink wool. Now it works. But that’s typical for me. I’ve never been someone who could just buy something out of a store and bring it home. I usually have to send it out to have the fabric or the color changed.