The high seas are pretty much a fool-proof design inspiration for resort collections, but Badgley Mischka is about to give that new meaning.
The label’s designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka will launch their 2021 resort collection with a runway show on the Queen Mary 2. Although next year’s trip will be the brand’s fifth annual Transatlantic Fashion Crossing on the flagship liner, it will be the first time that a fashion collection will be launched on a Cunard ship.
Travelers will not only see the collection but select guests on the transatlantic crossing will be able to pull up a chair to listen in on a Q&A with the designers. To accommodate all the fashion-minded passengers, there will be two runway shows and two Q&A’s. Just back in Beverly Hills after a six-week stay in New York, the designers said they first connected with Cunard a few years ago through their friend Jaqui Lividini. Having never been on a ship of that magnitude, the designers were surprised by such features as a 900-person auditorium. Badgley said, “It’s like a little city. It’s super, super glamorous, Old World. What we liked about this cruise is that it’s very elegant and formal. The women dress in evening gowns and that type of thing for dinner. It’s very old school and it harks back to that time which James and I love.”
Marion Davies, Liz Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn, Joan Crawford and Joan Fontaine are among the actresses who have inspired Badgley Mischka collections over the years. Launching resort at sea will require wrapping up the collection 10 days earlier than planned. Agreeing with Mischka that that will be the trickiest part, Badgley said, “Just the logistics of producing a fashion show on board…there are enough moving targets when you’re doing it in Manhattan. You have to book the models and know that they will live on the ship with you for a week and the hair and makeup. It will be a memorable experience,” Badgley said.
The seven-day journey sails May 24 from Southampton, England, en route to New York. Those who miss the boat — literally — will be able to watch every last look via live-stream. Making the distinction that the journey is a crossing ad not a cruise, Mischka suggested, “Maybe we should call it the crossing collection.”
This year’s fashion-themed crossing will feature royal milliner Stephen Jones OBE, shoe designer Stuart Weitzman, and American model Pat Cleveland. In recent years, Julien Macdonald, Zandra Rhodes, Fern Mallis, Gail Sackloff and Colin McDowell are among the fashion types who have taken part in Cunard crossing. Badgley said, “It’s fun in this day and age to create an atmosphere and to do things in a different way.”
And Cunard has a history of aspirational marketing. In 1921, WWD wrote, “One of the most unique and significant publicity ventures of the season has been accomplished by The Cunard Steam Ship Line in the form of a most acceptable geography painting book for children.” More commonly known as a coloring book, the promotional item depicted the Rock of Gibraltar, Vesuvius, the Colosseum in Rome, Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, New York City’s skyline and other destinations.