New York, NY, United States (AHN) – Steve Madden has officially taken over Betsey Johnson. Last month the footwear designer saved Johnson’s eponymous label by seizing control of her $27.4 million bank loan, which he has now absolved in exchange for full ownership of the brand.
But reportedly, this isn’t a bad thing. According to Vogue.com and Women’s Wear Daily, Johnson will continue to handle all design decisions. Madden plans to help develop Johnson’s footwear and daytime categories.
“Betsey is my partner. She has nothing to worry about and I will protect her,” Madden says. “She is not on the hook for anything. I am honored to be partners with her. That’s the truth. You know how they have those concerts in Washington, D.C., where they seem to honor Tony Bennett each year? They should do that for Betsey. When you hear the name Betsey Johnson, it means something”
After 30 years of being in business and developing her brand with her longtime business partner Chantal Bacon, it seems her label is going through massive changes. After Bacon quit the business just a few days ago, Johnson made the decision to default her loan owed to Steve Madden Ltd. Madden now owns Johnson’s brand and personal assets.
However, the 68-year-old designer is optimistic about the future.
“I feel born again. I miss my partner Chantal, but she is off having a very happy life,” Johnson told Women’s Wear Daily. “Of course that makes me wonder, ‘Do I want to go there?’ But I don’t. It feels like the good ole days, starting fresh and free. For everyone, it has been a rough couple of years. Now we can finally fly.”