NEW YORK — Badgley Mischka’s new fur collection has all the understatement of a Bette Davis drama.
This story first appeared in the November 19, 2002 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
That’s a good thing, since the designers were inspired by her role in “Now, Voyager,” a sentimental story about a spinster-turned-bombshell who journeys abroad and falls for a married man. But Badgley Mischka’s take on the film highlights the glamour, not the drama.
Hence, the mink wraps and stoles with embroidered edges and beaded accents, a razor-shaved mink coat with beaded lace, sable jacket, a toast-colored broadtail coat, short kimono with shawl collar. True to form, many styles are geared for black-tie affairs, like a white mink blazer designed to dress up beaded pants with a cashmere turtleneck. But there are also more everyday pieces like a simple cardigan, poncho and a shearling coat with dyed-to-match silk threads and cording.
“It was smaller on paper,” said James Mischka, who is co-president with Mark Badgley, referring to the diverse collection that’s licensed to BC International.
The designers’ fur line is being launched exclusively at Holt Renfrew in Canada and Saks Fifth Avenue in the U.S., and distribution will be broadened next year. Wholesale prices range from $2,500 to $15,000.
“What’s really incredible is the beading and embroidery. It reflects the whole Badgley Mischka aesthetic,” said Michael Fink, senior fashion market director for Saks, which is offering the collection at its flagship here, as well as in San Francisco, Beverly Hills and Chevy Chase, Md. The retailer liked it so much, a slim, long taupe broadtail coat was featured in its fall catalog.
Unlike other designers who are trying to jazz up the fur industry with a variety of colors that work back to sportswear, Badgley Mischka is playing it safe with more traditional tones like black, brown and white.
“We wanted to keep the color palette simple,” Badgley said. ‘We were intrigued by the idea of vintage looking furs with embroidery.”
All in all, the design process wasn’t that different from working with ready-to-wear, given the advancements in fur technology.
“There are a lot of different ways to treat or cut the same skin,” Mischka said. “It’s not just the bulky fur coat anymore.”
“It’s similar to working with furs,” Badgley said. “It felt very natural.”
Fur is a natural for the “luxury loving” Badgley Mischka customer “who typically wears fur and now can wear our furs,” Badgley said. With this license in place, the pair are now looking into deals for a signature fragrance, lingerie, eyewear and possibly loungewear.
Holt Renfrew plans to offer the collection in its three largest locations: Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. The designers will host a trunk show Nov. 28 at the Toronto flagship to launch the line, said Jim Killoch, director of furs. The night before the design team will be the guests of honor at a Holt Renfrew-sponsored dinner, which is part of an annual fund-raiser for AIDS research.
“Badgley Mischka Furs are a perfect fit to the image and style of Holt’s, reflecting the best of the best in contemporary design,” Killoch said. “Badgley Mischka represents luxury and glamour through their innovative and fashion-forward fur line consisting of luxurious classic silhouettes in mink, sable and broadtail.”
Well aware that most women couldn’t carry a line like Davis did in “Now, Voyager” with, ‘Don’t lets ask for the moon, we have the stars,’ Badgley Mischka’s interpretation is decidedly more tangible.
“We knew the world didn’t need one more fur collection,” Mischka said. “We wanted to give it a twist.”