The day with Badgley and Mischka at the Phoenix Art Museum was filled with passion, fashion, and women from around the world. The entire day was all about the details. This year marks their silver anniversary in fashion, this month they celebrate their 3rd wedding anniversary. “The era that women have to suffer for beauty are bye gone,” they stated. This is the day for super glamorous with comfort and modern sensibility. Badgley and Mischka remained true to their brand and glamour through the decades remembering that women want to look beautiful and young.
They started together at Parsons School of Design in their senior year. Each began designing with different fashion houses, James Mischka menswear for WilliWear WilliSmith, and Mark Badgley with Donna Karan. The long hours and commitment to each designer they thought it would be great to create their own business.
The business taught them that there is more than 24 hours in a day, pick what you believe in and dominate the arena, and trusting each other. They decided that they love evening attire even for daytime. This decision has been a benefited their business at times, but not following fashion trends at times has not been the best for their fashion label.
Inspiring designers for the label are: Bill Blass, Oscar De La Renta, and Geoffrey Beene. Oscar De La Renta often rode the same elevator. The three would debate who was the best fashion designer back and forth until the doors opened.
The designers watched old Hollywood films creating their label. They loved the looks of Bette Davies , Rita Hayworth, and Joan Crawford. They continue the old Hollywood film inspiration, even in recent runways.
Runway designing was compared to a wedding 6 months of really hard work and in five minutes it is over. It is exhilarating to see the full design and styling. Mark Badgley said, “it is like seeing your daughter on her wedding day.” They love this part of the fashion world, but it is just a small part of business.
The recent discussion of competing with fast fashion for fashion houses was discussed. They understand the need for designers like Tom Ford, Burberry , and Rebecca Minkoff to have the see now buy now concept for their brands. It is a great way for them to show something different this season. Their brand and designs does not compete with fast fashion, so that concept is not necessary for their label.
Their designs are know for their beading and embellishments; it is all in the details. The inspiration for their beading comes from jewelry. Many dresses may have up to 30,000 beads, beaded by old men in India, beading is a dying art. They consider themselves magpies when it comes to their beading collections. Creating the brands signature heirloom beads means: running the beads through the dishwashers hundreds of times or a bath in Drano to achieve this look.
Ensuring that the team completes the design comes from mood sketches. These sketches are the key to communicating the details of the gown. They have a signature look to their sketches. Badgley stated that, “Mischka’s sketches are not as finely sketched.”
They can speak about each gown with passion. Badgley and Mischka discussed the time they hand dyed a gown for the red carpet and it shrunk. They tied soup cans to the bottom of the dress and flew it across the country. This worked the gown was the right length for the event.
Their gowns have graced celebrities at some of the greatest red carpets. They know each of their clients well and what is working best for their personal image. They are aware of those celebrities that will require the gown custom made or others like Jennifer Lopez that knows she can rock any dress whether designed for her, previously worn, or straight off the runway. They love a woman that can look alluring and feminine in the evening no matter what her look is for the day.
The wedding collection developed from brides wanting their evening wear created to fit their special day. Many would ask to make that evening gown in the tones and beading for their wedding. Badgley and Mischka began designing specifically to meet bridal designs.
The Arizona Costume Institute received a donation from Kate Winslet’s. The 2005 Oscars red carpet dress is a Badgley Mischka design. The gowns on display at the event demonstrated that it is all in the details at Badgley Mischka.