Inside Betsy Bunky Nini


Ahead of our exclusive on the fab Anna Sui book – written with Andrew Bolton of the NY Met’s Costume Institute featuring forewords by Jack White and Steven Meisel – here’s a tasty slice of rock design history Anna turned us on to a couple of months back.

This ad was shot in the legendary NYC boutique Betsy Bunky Nini, founded by Betsey Johnson, Anita Latour and Linda Mitchell in 1969 on 53rd Street, between Second and Third.

“Notice that they have Ossie Clark on the racks,” says Anna, who later lived on the same block (which, of course, was made notorious by The Ramones’ 53rd & 3rd).

“The other fashion stores on this block included Norma Kamali, whose shop at the time was all patchwork velvet and snake skin, and Sweet Shop with clothing from London. For a while Johnny Thunders and Sylvain Sylvain (of the New York Dolls) sub-let Norma’s apartment on 53rd Street.”

As well as designing, BN&N imported European lines and also styled shoots: they “stage managed” the front cover of Dolls’ debut album.


When Johnson moved on to Alley Cat and then international success with her own label, Mitchell took over B&NN and shifted premises to 980 Lexington Avenue.

Read more about the original BN&N in Chapter 13 of THE LOOK – and look out for our exclusive on Anna’s new book: coming to this blog soon!


Madeleine Gallay said,

November 17, 2010 @ 1:38 am

I rememember Betsy Bunky Nini … Madison.

Janette said,

November 21, 2010 @ 2:27 am

I think the fabulous Kim Hastreiter (Paper magazine) and Branca used to do the windows for BBN back in the day.

rockpopfashion said,

November 21, 2010 @ 8:28 am

Thanks for the info Janette.

Lynn roots said,

October 7, 2014 @ 4:42 am

I knew someone who worked for them with great excitement and enthusiasm. Her name was Margo. She was a friend of my hairdresser and friend Trevor (Steven) Hunter. That hairdresser was with Michele Kazan on the east side in Manhattan . I’m sure Michele Kazan is long gone!

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