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Celebrity Grandma Q&A: Betsey Johnson

Fashion designer and coolest grandma ever

Betsey Johnson once described her style as a formula: take a leotard and add a skirt.  At 68, the whimsy-loving designer still wears tutus. We love her for that, and imagine her granddaughters do, too.  Despite a lot of buzz this week about the unveiling of the Betsey Johnson-designed Eloise Suite at the Plaza Hotel, Betsey “retired” last year so she could spend more time with the girls—Layla, 4, and Ella, 2.  We chatted with her about her latest project and being a hands-on grandma in the City.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do with the girls?
A. Just hangin’ at home. I live in the same building as my daughter,  on the Upper East Side. Going downstairs and having my coffee with the girls every morning, and having them come up and sleep with me every night is the best.

Q. Where do you like to shop for Layla and Ella—or do they exclusively wear BJ?
A. I love fun children’s clothes: Flowers By Zoe, Crewcuts, Spring Flowers, Bonpoint, Z Baby, Rachael Riley and Jacadi.

Q. You spent your childhood in dance classes, and aspired to be a dancer. Are the girls on the same path?
A. Ella loves ballet dancing and playing dress up. Layla does ballet,  too, but she’s also really into scootering, bike riding, and her classes at Kidville. This summer, she’s been doing the Hampton Country Day Camp . . . the best camp out there!

Q. Tell us about the Eloise project. Are you a fan of the book; does Layla love it?
A. Yes and yes. Just kind of recently, since the Eloise project kicked in, because my childhood did not include a rich-kid-at-The-Plaza kinda book. But when you connect with New York, you connect with everything in New York, and Eloise is an icon of New York.

Q. Can you share your vision—how you came up with the concept and design?
A. It was natural for me. I just wanted all the elements I love: flowers, stripes, and neon pink lights.