Betsey Johnson talks about dressing Olivia Rodrigo

Betsey Johnson may have gotten her start in fashion 50 years ago, but her ‘pretty n’ punk’ designs feel fresher than ever today – thanks to the return of Y2K style trends, pop punk tunes and a teenage superstar: Olivia Rodrigo.

The 19-year-old ‘Drivers License’ singer has worn multiple looks of 79-year-old Johnson on her ‘Sour’ tour in recent months, from slinky slip dresses to tutus.

And on the Met Gala 2022 red carpet, she decorated her hair with sparkly butterfly clips, a collaboration between Johnson and hair accessory lover Jennifer Behr.

Putting her own spin on Johnson’s vintage creations, Rodrigo’s introduced the vibrant octogenarian designs to a whole new generation.

“I am amazed every day to see that there is still such love for the work I have done,” Johnson tells Vidak For Congress Style exclusively. “I wouldn’t have thought in a million years that my 90s designs would be so popular 20 years later. And worn by some of the most stylish girls in the world!”

The designer added: “My ‘pretty n’ punk’ motto was never a trend – it’s a mindset, and it’s incredible that it still resonates.”

Olivia Rodrigo at Sour Prom
“Girls have always loved wearing my dresses to prom. For Olivia to wear these to her ‘Sour Prom’ party felt like the beginning of a new era as she introduced my brand to a new generation,” says Johnson.

Rodrigo first started getting into Johnson’s dresses after the star’s stylists, Chloe and Chenelle Delgadillo, reached out to borrow some archival styles. As the relationship grew – “Chenelle even shopped in my own closet!” Johnson Says – Rodrigo attended her ‘Sour Prom’ premiere party in a pink printed slip dress.

“I’m always so honored when she picks one of my vintage pieces to wear because the way she wears them is exactly how they’re designed — to make them your own,” Johnson says.

“You can tell this is her true style, the way she mixes a feminine slip dress with punk boots. I hope that young girls always find the freedom to dress for themselves and not for anyone else.”

Olivia Rodrigo at the 2022 Met Gala
Betsey Johnson teamed up with Jennifer Behr to create these butterfly hair clips for Rodrigo’s 2022 Met Gala look.
Getty Images

At the Met, Rodrigo sported her lilac metallic mesh Versace dress with the aforementioned winged clips — available now for between $75 and $175 — which were inspired by the ones featured in Johnson’s 1997 spring show.

“Butterflies have always been a great source of inspiration for me when it comes to designing my prints and accessories. I handcrafted them especially for the show, but they were so delicate that they didn’t survive in my archives,” Johnson explains.

Johnson and Behr’s teams “worked around the clock” to create the accessories that marked the fashion designer’s first-ever presence at the Met Gala – and we suspect it won’t be her last.

Below, Johnson shares her thoughts on some of Rodrigo’s recent looks.

Tulle time

“Love how they styled this prom dress! It IS ‘pretty n’ punk.’ There’s nothing more punk—and Betsey!—than tulle, with fishnets and a lace-up boot.”

Bows and boots

“It gives me Courtney Love and I love it!”

Round mesh

Olivia Rodrigo black dress
BlayzenPhotos / BACKGRID

“This look is from my runway show in the spring of 1998. Again, the styling is impeccable, pairing such a pretty dress with that shoe… Olivia just gets it! I love this look!”

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