BEVERLY HILLS — Mark Badgley and James Mischka are gearing up for a potentially landmark year for their brand.
The pair, visiting their Rodeo Drive boutique last week, revealed some of their brand initiatives in the works — from new licenses to a New York flagship.
They were in town to be honored by the Costume Council, the clothing and textile preservation arm of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. An afternoon fashion presentation and "conversation" before an audience of 600 members on April 30 was followed the next evening by a sold-out dinner filled with 200 boosters at downtown’s vintage California Club.
At the top of this year’s to-do list is finalizing licensees. They are "close, like a couple of months" to a fragrance deal, and an eyewear license could close within the month with styles at retail by April 2004.
That would include men’s eyewear. "It’s inspired by Mark’s wearing of glasses," noted Mischka. "And your obsession with eyewear," quickly added his partner. Although the pair are also flirting with expanding into men’s accoutrements, even possibly shirting — they acknowledge that is still very much in the future. But certainly a possibility.
"The men’s business is just so depressed right now. We just think the whole casual Friday thing is an abomination. It should become glamorous Fridays," enthused Mischka.
Outsourcing footwear, done in-house at present, along with the couture evening bags, is also "under some discussion," said Badgley, adding that "it would enable us to broaden distribution."
Footwear, now manufactured outside of Venice, and the embellished evening bags, which are made in New York with frames and hardware from Italy, are about 10 percent of the company’s retail sales, which are a bit over $40 million including furs, bridal, collection, shoes and handbags.
This next wave of category expansion comes a year after the house introduced a separates group for Saks Fifth Avenue, also available at Badgley Mischka’s signature boutique. The separates category, they said, is growing in importance and within a year could account for 30 to 40 percent of sales.This spring, the duo introduced Atelier, a collection in unlimited color and fabric options for mother-of-the-bride and other themed occasions. Sold alongside its five-year-old bridal collection, counting nearly one-fifth of sales, Atelier is exceeding expectations, noted the designers.
Already this year, Badgley Mischka opened a 2,500-square-foot bridal salon on the lower floor of the Fifth Avenue Escada store in New York, as well as a smaller salon in the San Francisco Escada door at Union Square. The company is a unit of Escada USA.
A fur line, licensed to BC International, bowed last fall. BC Group is an affiliate of Birger Christensen, the firm that operates fur salons in stores such as Saks.
Excluding any licenses, the two said the latest initiatives are expected to boost growth by 20 percent.
"Adding fragrance, eyewear, and even broadening footwear, it could double the overall business," noted Badgley.
The pair are actively seeking a site for a New York store, which would be their second freestanding store after Beverly Hills, which opened in September 2001.
Since then, either one or both are out here every eight weeks or so to meet with customers. "The more we do in L.A., the better we both have an affinity for the women here and the city," added Mischka, who spent his teen years living here; Badgley moved here when he attended USC.
Clearly, the LACMA supporters at Thursday night’s gala proved the red carpet set aren’t their only local fans. Added Badgley, as the duo were inundated throughout the night by wide-eyed socialites of every kind: "They’re such a fun, cross section of Los Angeles women."
“What he has done at Vuitton is really exceptional,” said @gameofthrones’ actress Gwendoline Christie on @mrkimjones’ final show for @louisvuitton. “He has rebooted luxury in terms of making it commercial, viable and contemporary. And most importantly artistic. He has never compromised his artistic vision for the sake of commodity.” (📷: @zefashioninsider)
After seeing a demand for men’s wear from its customers, British contemporary women’s wear label @ariesarise has added a men’s wear component and will launch a unisex collection with @mrporterlive. The 20-piece collection includes jackets, denim, logo T-shirts and more with deconstructed ‘90s vibes. Set to launch on January 18, you can shop the pieces on Aries’ website and on mrporter.com. #wwdfashion
“And so spending so much time with a character who thinks like that, inevitability you try and analyze yourself and go back and think about your own demons and dark chapters that you had in your life,” says @thedanielbruhl of his role in TNT’s “The Alienist.” The show, set in the Gilded Age of New York, also stars Dakota Fanning and Luke Evans. Head to WWD.com to read about how 39-year-old Brühl prepared for the role and why he thinks the show is so relevant to today #wwdeye ( 📷: @Eriktanner)
Now that Celine Dion’s collection has topped $10 million in sales, the pop superstar, fashion icon and newly-minted industry player is eyeing growth in Asia. Read the full report by @tiffanyap, link in bio. #wwdnews #celinedion
“My personal philosophy to beauty is paying attention to oneself. I love to be outdoors, lots of fresh air, trying to take care of yourself as best you can. I always notice that comes through,” says Felicity Jones, the global face of @shiseido-owned @cledepeaubeauteus, which launches today. Head to WWD.com to read more about the actress’ love for beauty and how she prepared for her new role in “The Basis of Sex,” playing the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. #wwdbeauty (📷: @dandoperalski)
Among the familiar faces at @off____white’s show was a surprise figure: Japanese artist @takashipom, pictured here on Wednesday morning. Other show-goers included @jerrylorenzo, who spoke about his upcoming project: a @nike collaboration for back to school, with designs inspired by his childhood on the West Coast. Sitting in the front row were Future, Don Crawley, @miguel and more. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdeye (📷: Stephane Feugere)
According to @laurentsai, former “Terrace House: Aloha State” cast member, she didn’t know she was auditioning for the Japanese version of “Real World.” “I was telling a couple of my friends and someone’s like, ‘That sounds a lot like Terrace House.’ I was like, ’No it can’t be.’” Turns out, it was. But Tsai isn’t just a reality star — she’s an illustrator who has worked with Starbucks Japan and most recently, she’s dipping her toes into the fashion world. Head to WWD.com to read about her time on the show, modeling and her art. #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
More changes are coming to New York Fashion Week: Beginning with the spring 2019 collection, @alexanderwangny will move his New York show to June from September, adopting a biannual schedule with collections shown in June and December. Additionally, the @cfda is planning for an official summer/winter fashion season taking place as soon as June and December 2018. Read more about the upcoming changes on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @slovekinpics)