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.

At the new showroom at 550 Seventh Avenue, there will be plenty of Badgley Mischka designs to fill the space. The duo also has licenses for daytime and evening handbags, eyewear, furs, bridal, fragrance and accessories. Eyewear will hit the stores in December and fragrance will follow for spring. Freestanding stores are also in the works through a licensing deal with Pristine Fashion Group.

Badgley Mischka has reopened its Beverly Hills boutique and plans to unveil another in Palm Desert in late November or early December. There is also an aggressive search for sites in Manhattan, Bal Harbour, Palm Beach, Houston, Washington, D.C. and Las Vegas. The designers are eager to put forward the whole Badgley Mischka aesthetic, which extends beyond their easily identified, elegant evening dresses. Lining up a smattering of stores across the country should do just that, Badgley said. "Stores can be much more successful, when they have more lifestyle products."

There should be even more products to choose from before too long. Talks are under way to secure licenses for diamond jewelry, lingerie, home and shoes before the end of the year, they said.

Rehiring 35 employees, who lost their jobs when the company disbanded last year, and returning to factories that produced previous collections were crucial elements of re-creating the brand's authenticity, they said.

More than anything, the Iconix deal has freed them up from number-crunching and other business tasks to allow them to be more creative. "Just having the support and backup makes us not have to worry about watching our backs so much. Plus, I can watch Mark's and he can watch mine," Mischka said.

The truth is that work is always a top priority for them. "It's all we talk about morning, noon and night. I would like to tell you something different," Badgley said.

No surprise most of their conversation these days centers on Wednesday night's show, which will be held in the renovated space that used to be the nightclub The Tunnel.

"They call it The Waterfront now. It sounds better. A lot of people have a history with The Tunnel, which they do or do not remember," Mischka mused.
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