NEW YORK — Badgley Mischka is taking a double-barreled approach to bridal with two new licensing deals — one for wedding gowns and the other for bridesmaid dresses.
The designer label’s existing bridal license with Pronovias will not be renewed when it expires at the end of December. Instead, the Iconix Brand Group, Badgley Mischka’s parent company, has lined up two separate licensing agreements. Anne Barge Bridal Collection will manufacture and distribute bridal gowns under the Badgley Mischka label and Groupe JS will handle the bridesmaid dresses. Both collections will debut during the New York bridal market in October and will ship for spring. The latter is a new pursuit for designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka who have used pieces from their couture and Platinum bridge collections to suit up more sophisticated bridesmaids.
As a sign of their wholehearted approach to bridal, the pair plan to introduce a fragrance, footwear and handbags for brides-to-be. Talks are under way for licensing deals for Badgley Mischka bridal jewelry and intimate apparel.
Neil Cole, chief executive officer of Iconix Brand Group, said, “Iconix is dedicated to making Badgley Mischka the leading luxury brand in the bridal market, and we’re committed to making the investment necessary to capture the full breadth of this opportunity.”
The initial 25-piece collection of Badgley Mischka bridal will retail from $3,000 to $15,000, and the 20-piece bridesmaid collection will retail between $200 and $350.
Badgley Mischka first entered the bridal business with an exclusive collection for Bergdorf Goodman in 1997, and widened distribution the following year to include stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Anne Barge’s former employer. She recalled with a laugh, “I bought eight pieces for every store and Saks almost had a heart attack.” Barge, who has worked in the bridal industry for decades, owns a bridal shop in Atlanta and has a signature bridal collection.
The new bridal collection consists of slimming styles embellished with vintage jewelry. The designers opted for some back-baring slimming silhouettes instead of solely the traditional strapless wedding gown. While they drew inspiration from their signature collection for the wedding gowns, they found themselves paying more attention to the backs of the dresses. “We’ve always catered to a sophisticated bride who is looking for maybe not the typical top-of-the-cake type silhouette,” Badgley said.
As for how today’s customers will react to the new collection, Barge said, “This is so Hollywood glamour which is so right. Every 27-year-old bride who walks in [to my store] wants to look like a movie star and this is right on the mark.”
Bridesmaid dresses will be offered in 15 colors, in sizes 0 to 14 and short and long lengths. “It’s our quest to do dresses that bridesmaids would actually like to wear again,” Badgley said.
Mischka added, “We’re using a lot of draping, and details like pintucking and other tricks we learned through the years that will make a girl feel comfortable if she may not be a zero.”
The bridal collection will be sold in 90 to 100 doors, and the bridesmaid dresses will be sold in 150 to 200 doors, said Mitchell Hops, president and chief executive officer of Groupe JS. Groupe JS already produces Badgley Mischka’s couture and bridge collections. “Now with the success of Badgley Mischka’s Platinum collection, we are able to offer special bridal customers what they have requested of us.”
A major Badgley Mischka Bridal print advertising campaign is planned for spring issues of bridal magazines such as Bride’s, Elegant Bride, In Style Weddings, Town & Country Weddings and Martha Stewart Weddings.
Barge said, “Not to be hokey, but this is a marriage. Having done bridal for so long and having been into every bridal store I should have gone into, there’s no question that this line will succeed.”
David Conn, executive vice president of the Iconix Brand Group, agreed. “We think this could be one of the largest brands in the luxury bridal business, if not the biggest in the next couple of years.”