Famed, legendary and refreshingly irreverent, Betty Halbreich has styled the rich and famous for nearly four decades at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City. Now in her eighties, she is as fabulous as ever, and not afraid to share her wisdom with the world.
We had the pleasure of meeting Betty at an intimate “Cocktails and Q&A” session, hosted by Penguin Books and FASHION magazine this past Tuesday where she sat down to talk about her memoir, “I’ll Drink to That.”
Betty comes across as humble, down-to-Earth and with a childlike enthusiasm that defies her years. We thought we knew Betty Halbreich, but as FASHION Editor-In-Chief, Bernadette Morra sat down to interview her, it was one revelation after another. Now we love her more than ever – here are just a few reasons why:
- She has more closets than rooms. Betty has kept her Upper East Side apartment for over sixty years. Located just blocks away from Bergdorfs, it has eight rooms and twelve closets – each of which are notoriously neat, and often the subjects of Pinterest inspiration pages around the web.
- She could give Martha Stewart a run for her money. A domestic Goddess in her own right, on her day off Betty can be found shopping the aisles of her local grocery store or, even better, at a Farmers’ Market. She also loves to clean (see above RE: her twelve closets).
- Her go-to bag is understatedly fabulous. When asked about what she carries around, Betty was “sorry to disappoint.” She told us that during the day, it’s an old vinyl Prada tote (which she washes regularly), and in the evening, a vintage Bottega Veneta. Prada and Bottega? Hardly disappointing at all, Betty!
- Lena Dunham is doing a comedy series based on her life. As she signed our books, she looked up and smiled, her doe eyes wide with excitement, and said, “you know about me and Lena, right!?” Of course we know, and we cannot wait! The series is currently in development at HBO.
- She marches to the beat of her own drummer. “I’ve had a whole life of people not knowing what to do with me,” she said. She described how in her earlier days she would turn her sweaters backwards – and she continues to experiment to this very day. At times brazenly outspoken, she even had choice words about Chanel – but we wouldn’t dare repeat them here.
- She loved Toronto. Betty’s Toronto visit was a whirlwind. Not a big fan of travelling, she admitted that she was at first hesitant to come. Yet as Bernadette closed off the Q&A session with a thank-you to her subject, the fashion legend turned the thanks back to us – and in true Betty Halbreich form, it was entirely sincere and from the heart.
Feature contributed by Michelle Pinchev of City by Heart