Forties Hollywood glamour is back, inspiring everything from furniture to jeans styled after Katharine Hepburn’s famed slacks. Mark Badgley and James Mischka were among the first clothing designers to trigger the resurgence of the era’s elegant streamlined gowns. The duo, who met while studying at Parson’s School of Design in New York, soon saw their lithe designs floating down the red carpet, worn by current starlets including Sharon Stone, Kate Winslet, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Ashley Judd.
Following their quest to create a women’s entire trousseau from gowns to bags to clothes, the designers recently launched a fragrance, Badgley Mischka Eau de Parfum and are poised to launch a lingerie line this spring. I recently gabbed with Badgley and Mischka about clothes, crystal and collecting.
How do you collaborate so cohesively?
Mischka: “We’re both Capricorns, which does help. We’re both pretty centered.”
What inspires you?
Badgley: “We’re pretty consistent. Old Hollywood glamour has always been our mantra and it’s our quest to make it modern. We’ve always loved old movies.”
Mischka: “The transformation from the everyday into the swan.”
Women who inspire you?
Badgley: “Grace Kelly and Bette Davis.”
Mischka: “Ava Gardner.”
What inspired the fragrance?
Mischka: “We wanted something that had old-world glamour. The bottle is inspired by antique barware.”
Badgley: “We worked on it for over a year. It has a floral blend of white peony and jasmine, the top notes are wild berries, freshly picked peaches with crème de cassis, and it finishes with a spicy, musky, patchouli.”
A bottle based on antique barware?
Mischka: “We collect cut crystal barware, vintage crystal, and silver.”
Mischka: “Antiques shops in Watch Hill, Rhode Island.”
Do you curate the collection, showing a few pieces at a time?
Mischka: “We like to have it all out. We did a big edit three or four years ago. Now it’s got to be really fantastic or we won’t buy it.”
Both: “Lingerie this spring. Bridal and bridesmaid gowns this February. And shoes, handbags, and semi-precious and find jewelry, soon. We want to do the whole trousseau.”
Badgley Mischka Eau de Parfum, from $65 to $225, at Bergdorf Goodman, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue.