NEW YORK — It’s 17 days until Badgley Mischka reveals its spring collection on the runway, but designers James Mischka and Mark Badgley are already showing off their new handbags.
The collection’s debut marks another step in the 17-year-old company’s revival since its purchase in October by Iconix Brand Group, formerly Candie’s Inc., from Escada USA.
“We’ve been wanting to do it back since we started with our new situation,” said Badgley. “I think it will be important for us.”
Badgley Mischka began designing evening bags in-house in 1997, but ceased production of the collection when its business partnership with Escada ended. When Iconix purchased the brand, Badgley Mischka began researching ways to rebuild the business, signing a license in April for handbags with Franchi Accessories and adding day looks to the assortment.
“Our bags were always designed in-house and never with a licensee,” Mischka said. “It is allowing us to continue doing what we had done, but to add to the breadth of it.”
The collection comprises 100 pieces, 60 percent of which will be evening bags, with 40 percent allocated to styles more appropriate for everyday use.
Evening styles include slim cases designed in jewel-toned stingray and accented with white Swarovski crystals; sleek clutches created in pearlized eel and finished with a sole flower detail in pearls and crystals; silk satin pouchettes structured around an arch frame closure and decorated with crystal embellishments and pleats, and flapper-style purses designed with ornate beadwork and a cascade of beads swaying from the bottom.
“The artwork is inspired by the embroidery and beading of our ready-to-wear,” said Badgley. “Some of the details were taken off the dresses and put on the bags.”
For the day looks, Badgley Mischka explored softer silhouettes, such as tote bags in cream, caramel, coral, or silver- or gold-washed leather, and frame bags with a contrasting crocodile closure and leather piping and a generous pouch.
“We didn’t want an uptight silhouette for the day,” Mischka said. “We wanted a more relaxed look, with luxurious details, like the hardware.”
Hardware includes tab closures bearing the Badgley Mischka logo, petite brass studs and floral filigree work that turns up on brushed gold and silver medallion closures, barrels embracing straps and coin-sized discs interspersed on chain-link handles.
Retail prices for the handbags will range from $500 to $1,500 for the evening styles, while the day looks will sell for $750 to $1,500.
Badgley Mischka plans to do three handbag collections a year, following the first spring season with a fall and resort range. A pre-fall delivery also may be a possibility in the future, according to Mischka. The bags will be sold in Badgley Mischka boutiques, and will be targeted as well toward such retailers as Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and other specialty stores.
Badgley Mischka also is anticipating the arrival of its new sunglasses for the spring retail season under a license with Los Angeles-based Sama Eyewear and is working on its deal with August Accessories in New York to make women’s hats, scarves, shawls and gloves for fall. Franchi Accessories is a New York-based maker of handbags for the Franchi, Cynthia Rowley and now Badgley Mischka brands. Badgley Mischka accessories are anticipated to account for 10 to 20 percent of its overall business.