Style » Fashion

What’s Old is New Again: Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show & Sale

Tuesday Jan 29, 2013

While today's top fashion designers are showing their most recent collections on the runways in Milan, Paris and New York City, retro fashionistas can discover high styles from past centuries that inspire today's trends at the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show & Sale Feb. 1-2 in New York City.

More than 90 vintage clothing dealers highlight this two-day shopping event that draws celebrities, designers and the fashion-smart shoppers.

In addition to the retro wears, attendees will be able to view a special exhibition, "Paraphernalia to Punk: Vintage Betsey Johnson." The on-site exhibit and online shopping offers fans of Johnson's designs the unique opportunity to see (and purchase) some of her most original designs.

The first Paraphernalia store opened in 1965 on Madison Avenue. As part of the original design team, Betsey Johnson led the boutique into a fashionable new era in New York, creating revolutionary new fashions for the youth market. No Paraphernalia clothes retailed for more than $99.

Johnson spent five years at Paraphernalia. In the following years her designs were worn by style setters such as actresses Julie Christie and Brigitte Bardot, model Twiggy, and Edie Sedgwick. From 1970 to 1974 Betsey Johnson designed for Alley Cat, a junior sportswear company. She had full creative control, designing everything from the textiles used in her designs to the accompanying shoes.

Like her clientele, Johnson was aware that strict fashion rules had fallen by the wayside in favor of a more eclectic approach to fashion. Her designs were also made accessible to another market, home sewers, when she collaborated on a line of Betsey Johnson for Alley Cat patterns with Butterick Patterns. Her designs were first produced under the Betsey Johnson of Alley Cat label and later as Betsey Johnson.

In 1978, revived by the punk movement, Betsey Johnson partnered with ex-model Chantal Bacon, whom she met while designing children's clothes in 1975, to start their own company, the Betsey Johnson label. From Paraphernalia, to Alley Cat and finally Betsey Johnson, Johnson has always brought a sense of whimsy to the fashion world.

For more information about The Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show & Sale, visit


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