New York-based designer Betsey Johnson will be bringing more of her bold, eccentric fashions to the GTA this spring, with her label set to open a new location in Vaughan Mills.
It will be the second GTA location for the ladies’ fashion and accessories chain, which launched in New York City more than 30 years ago, and currently operates more than 65 stores throughout North America. The first Toronto location opened in Yorkville in 2003.
Johnson has won awards for her creative collections, which boast bright colours and patterns, plenty of frilly feminine embellishment and some distinct retro inspiration. Johnson’s love of costumes clearly shines through in her designs, some of which look as though they’d fit well in a Broadway number.
While some of the label’s items may be a bit exuberant for my tastes, I find others adorable. I especially like the handbags and some of the summery-looking dresses currently available at Betsey Johnson.
The new store will be the chain’s fifth in Canada, and it sounds as though more could be on the way. The label has an ambitious growth strategy underway, with plans to have 100 stores by 2012.
It’s a bit surprising that the chain is pursuing such aggressive growth right now, though, given that it’s run into some financial trouble in the past year.
In October, the chain announced that Steven Madden, Ltd. had agreed to take over US$48 million of Betsey Johnson LLC’s outstanding debt, and had made a new loan to the company. Under the restructuring agreement, Steve Madden also acquired the trademarks and intellectual property of the chain, and a 10% stake in the chain.
These drastic measures suggest that perhaps the company’s financial situation was more than a little rocky. But who knows, maybe this new injection of capital was all that was needed to get the chain back on its feet and to get its growth strategy rolling.
Only time will tell. In the meantime, I look forward to checking out the new Vaughan Mills location in the next few months.