By and  on March 16, 2005

NEW YORK — Unlike many designers who use new financial backing to overhaul their operations, Mark Badgley and James Mischka have rehired many of the people who made them successful in the first place.

Beleaguered by financial problems, the designers sat out the spring season but vowed they would be back for fall. In October, Candie’s Inc. acquired Badgley Mischka, putting the eveningwear powerhouse label back on track. The designers are raring to go, thanks to a strategic partnership between Candie’s and Groupe JS International, an eveningwear manufacturer based here that is now producing the designers’ collection. 

While all these changes were under way, some of the Badgley Mischka team waited; others took jobs elsewhere. As fragmented as the last few months have been, Mischka and Badgley appear to have dealt with it all with their usual equanimity. They are creating some order amid all the chaos of starting over. Since November, a second apartment in the brownstone in which they live has served as a working studio; for the past week, the St. Regis Hotel here has been home for the fall collection, and the team is using yet another temporary space on West 40th Street. And, finally, they’re negotiating for a Seventh Avenue showroom.

But the boys are back producing an exquisite, well-edited collection for fall. 

“While this collection is more edited than usual, it still represents the same ideas of luxury and glamour it always has,” said Mischka. “We were inspired this season by Charles James and the mood and palette of Fifties couture.”

There are soft pinks, beiges and blues in light fabrics. A long hammered satin skirt and chinchilla-edged cashmere sweater in pink and a beige silk chiffon gown detailed with pale blue ribbon and crystals are two standouts.

The most lavish looks are the furs — all of which are beautifully shaped and toned as part of the evening looks: white sable boleros; a pink weasel pullover with a crystal-paved cowl neck; a golden sable vest shown over a black cashmere sweater edged in sable, smoked crystals and pearls.

The designers, even though they were sidelined for spring, have not been out of the loop, so even “volume,” as Mischka calls it, is here. “But our version has flirty hems, and softer, fuller skirts, for example. It’s subtle.”

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