Having spent the last three and a half decades creating one of America’s best-loved evening and bridalwear brands, you can imagine Mark Badgley and James Mischka of Badgley Mischka were particularly strung out by the last 12 months. All social occasions—including weddings—were indefinitely postponed, and the kind of social event that would require a delicately embroidered gown or sequin-embellished tuxedo was the stuff of fantasy.
Mark Badgley, however, insists that “fashion is resilient”, and so the duo briefly pivoted their business model to cater to at-home dressing, a ‘luxe lounge’ collection that traded “$10,000 gowns you’d wear to a gala for fabulous $600 blouses you’d wear for a Zoom meeting”.
But if the brand’s Fall Winter 2021 collection is anything to go by, they are resolutely returning to their roots, creating clothes for an optimistic future in which opulent glamour and fabulous social outings are back on the cards.
The 19-piece collection was a proverbial who’s-who of the brand’s best-known silhouettes—high-necked gold sequin gowns with puff sleeves, artfully draped column dresses with bow shoulder details, pleated knee-length midi dresses with delicate floral prints. Highlights included a blush lamé jumpsuit and a slouchy embroidered evening suit—both giving tasteful nods to the Studio 54-era of ’70s high-glam. The latter is unsurprising, given that the images of Diana Ross, Bianca Jagger, and Grace Jones, taken at Andry Warhol’s legendary club, are basically our collective cultural moodboard for what we’d like life to look like in the latter half of 2021.
On that front, Badgley and Mischka are resolutely optimistic. “I think when things do open back up again there’s going to be a whole lot of pent-up demand,” Mischka told The Street late last year. “All the social occasions and celebrations that got postponed will be rescheduled—the floodgates are going to open and it’s going to be a fantastic, fantastic year.” Here’s hoping.