Betsey Johnson Wants to Shake Up Your Underwear Drawer
Credit: Courtesy of Knix

Betsey Johnson Wants to Shake Up Your Underwear Drawer

The designer teamed up with Knix on a playful new lingerie collection.
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When Betsey Johnson designed lingerie "like 20 years ago," girls on the street would flash their bras at her. "They'd say, 'Betsey, I'm wearing your stuff!'" she tells me over the phone. 

Now, the eclectic fashion designer is back in the lingerie game — this time in partnership with intimates brand Knix, best known for its size-inclusive bras and underwear. Johnson explains the brand reached out to her to inquire about a print collaboration, and the rest is history. "Knix wanted my spirit, and they got my vibe a hundred-zillion percent," she says. 

The new Knix collection features 21 styles, including various types of the brand's popular underwear and bras, as well as a nightgown and pajama set. Each item is available in four of Johnson's signature "pretty and punk" prints, including a large "vintage" rose design that comes in two bright colorways, a "sexy" leopard print, "cute" butterflies, and another "sweet" floral option. Johnson says her designs are for people who "want a bit of kick out of their clothes," and also describes the patterns as her "life." 

"It's what I've done since 1965 and here I am wearing it, about to turn 80 in a couple of months," she says.

Betsey Johnson x Knix Collab

Shop now: $55; knix.com

Betsey Johnson x Knix Collab

Shop now: $25; knix.com 

The designer is enamored with Knix's stretchy, seamless, and body-molding fabrics (which she describes as "space age construction"), and even calls it an "engineering feat." She emphasizes that the brand "knows their shit" and is excited that her prints have made their way onto such "functional" pieces. "It's really good clothing stuff," she says, noting that she plans to wear most of it as regular clothes. "I don't just isolate it as lingerie." 

She raves that she's going to "live" in the Modal Nightgown — or the "slip dress," as she's deemed it — when she's in Mexico, where she's headed for vacation soon.

Betsey Johnson x Knix Collab

Shop now: $55; knix.com

Betsey Johnson x Knix Collab

Shop now: $55; knix.com

"I consider it an outerwear dress because I come from the old days where underwear can also be outerwear," she says. "This underwear is great [for that] — if you wear a classic white T-shirt, you got your butterfly bra showing through. It's a good pop. I like underwear showing." She describes the Knix pajamas as "slinky and drapey," and says the top is a "great shirt to wear with jeans."

Betsey Johnson x Knix Collab

Shop now: $45; knix.com

Her other favorites include the Essential Bikini and WingWoman Contour Bra, both of which she revealed she was wearing while we were chatting. She says the bra's molded foam cups have changed her life.

"I hardly have any boobies and for the first time, I really do like the look and feel of the padding — I never use that stuff," she says. She adds that her boyfriend, who was in the room with her, "sure loves it…he's sitting here going, 'Woah, you look so hot!'"

Betsey Johnson x Knix Collab

Shop now: $60; knix.com

Betsey Johnson x Knix Collab

Shop now: $18; knix.com

"It's a full range of people you can be," Johnson says about the Knix collection. She also explains that while the playful intimates are a step outside of Knix's traditional solid colors and neutrals, her prints aren't new or "high fashion" — they're just "classic."

"I think that's why I'm still around," she says. "Everyone thinks I'm so far-out and over the top, but I'm really not."