Betony Vernon, Closets
Betony Vernon

In a mountaintop refuge on the Appalachian trail, Betony grew up free from pop culture and television, often free from adult surveillance and control, and always free from the “pleasure and body taboos,” which she says gave her the bravery to do what she does today. Her then-favorite childhood red leather shiny slicker is a direct edgy ancestor to her latest, a custom-designed black patent leather trenchcoat. With her high-end jewelry she seeks to break down the fear and repression surrounding sex, and to “help people know, understand, accept, and explore their bodies... to share in what is the most incredible bond, and the most profound expression of the human spirit.”

Her fiery stand-out red mane, cut in the blunt style of her favored Japanese aesthetic, not only matches Betony's love for the archetypal kimono but echoes her willingness to stand on her own despite the misconceptions and judgments that go along with human sexuality, a subject in which she is currently getting a PhD. In keeping with the independent character of her pioneer parents, Betony embraces "shapely" and swears by Vivienne Westwood, one of the few designers she can wear-off-the-rack. Otherwise, she creates eighty percent of the clothes that she wears. Betony's dad, originally from Martha's Vineyard, is a low-flying pilot who built helicopters in their Victorian library. While her mom, descended from King Edward VII and in 1960 joined what are known today as the Greensboro Four in what was then called the “Sit Down” at a "whites-only" counter that helped spark America’s civil rights revolution. "She’s definitely got something to do with my spirit of fighting for what I believe in," Betony states.

Educated on two continents in art history, goldsmithing, and industrial design, Betony's “sado-chic” creations are born from a deep intelligence and sophistication. They have grown only bolder since the early days, when her jewelry could literally stun buyers into a shy silence. Whether in a black lace dress designed by Emilio Pucci's Peter Dundas over a Mr. Pearl corset or donning her irrepressible, Paradise Found rings -- which, when inverted, double as massage rings -- Betony is immune to the twisted hypocrisy of society. “My mission is a mission of sexual well-being,” and for empowering people, she feels, “The jewelry is just a bridge to that.”

Click here for Betony's website.

If you love Betony, you may also like Bliss Lau, Drue Kataoka and Virginie Sommet.

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