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Badgley Mischka: Back to Business

Mark Badgley and James Mischka spent last September's fashion week squirreled away in their Hamptons house, fielding phone calls from prospective buyers.

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NEW YORK — Mark Badgley and James Mischka spent last September's fashion week squirreled away in their Hamptons house, fielding phone calls from prospective buyers.

"We left New York. It was too depressing," Badgley said during an interview at the designers' temporary showroom space at 215 West 40th Street. "It was a very strange feeling not having a show. We didn't want to be around."

Fast-forward to today and it's clear the pair is now running on all cylinders. More than 700 Badgley Mischka followers are expected at its Wednesday night runway show at The Waterfront. The company is tripling its show budget compared with previous shows and hopes to show off the major star who will appear in the brand's first national ad campaign next season. No one would ever describe their frocks as understated and this spring is no exception. Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst's high-flying days at the 115-room Hearst Castle in San Simeon, Calif., provided a healthy dollop of inspiration.

Clearly the company has weathered its share of changes since Candie's Inc., which has since switched its name to the Iconix Brand Group, acquired it in November.

Badgley said, "We wanted to do a small typical fashion show during the day, and [Iconix chairman and chief executive officer] Neil [Cole] said, 'No, this should be a celebration. Let's do a big, gorgeous fashion show at night and have a party afterwards.'"

Say no more.

Badgley Mischka was forced to sit out the spring 2005 season, after its former parent company, Escada USA, was saddled with financial problems and put the U.S. designer house on the block. But Badgley Mischka made good on its vow to be back in business with a fall 2005 collection. Candie's made that happen, by buying B.E.M. Enterprises Ltd., the holding company for the Badgley Mischka business, last year from Escada USA, which had owned the brand since 1992. This fall Candie's changed its name to Iconix.

Looking back, something the designers only do when asked to, Badgley said, "Perhaps we should have made this change earlier than we did. That is something that we all would agree on."
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