On Feb. 13, Betsey Johnson presented her fall-winter 2012 collection at Lincoln Center. The '60s-inflected show came complete with looks named after Beatles songs and a hip-hop-meets-oldies soundtrack of remixes. Backstage after the show, the designer told TIME about her latest inspirations and where she learned how to do a cartwheel.
Tell us a little bit about the source of the '60s inspiration.
Me! My life, my world. I started working, designing the name and the label, in 1965 for a boutique called Paraphernalia.
Are there any other shows this Fashion Week that you're particularly looking forward to seeing?
I don't go to any shows. I'm going to go do a couple of appearances in Las Vegas tomorrow morning. I'll be at the airport.
You typically close your runway shows with a cartwheel. Where'd you learn gymnastics?
I was a dancer for years, really wanting to be a Rockette. I came out in front of the Syracuse football team and did cartwheels and round-offs. I mean, in front of the football team! I was always dancing and acrobatics was my specialty.
Do you have a favorite Beatles song?
Wow. I know my granddaughter's is "Lucy in the Sky." I just love the Beatles. And the Rolling Stones. My grandkids have been watching Beatles movies like crazy lately.
How did they get into the band?
The babysitter. She's a huge Beatles fan, and the kids. And it's a good thing because they're too young, they don't know, so hopefully, somehow or other, someone comes along and gives you a bit from the past.