bal harbour blog

Badgley Mischka visit Bal Harbour

Q&A
Mark Badgley, Mayor Jean Rosenfield and James Mischka.

By Tali Jaffe

Mark Badgley and James Mischka have had a very busy week. They launched a fine jewelry collection on Monday in New York, are shooting their brand new hotel suite at The Breakers on Friday, and today made time for a little runway presentation and luncheon at Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour.

We were lucky to snag a few minutes with the charming and talented designing duo just before the crowd—invited by the afternoon's hosts, Sarah Harrelson, Yolanda Berkowitz and Jillian Jacobson—settled in for their popovers.

Tell us about the looks we'll be seeing at today's runway presentation.
Mark Badgley: We're showing looks from the Spring and some pieces from Cruise from the Badgley Mischaka collection, which is carried at Neiman Marcus.

The Spring Collection is so bright and beautiful.
James Mischka: Thanks, yeah we were drawn to a lot of color. Fun colors. Anytime we do color we think of how great it will do down here [in Miami].

And you're fans of South Florida too, right?
MB: We have a store in Palm Beach and had a home there for years, but we recently sold it. We have our horses down here in Wellington so we have a little place at the Polo Club there.

So you arranged this appearance to soak up the warm weather then?
MB: Laughing… no, I think there was a little more to it than that.

I just saw your Gossip Girl plug on Monday.
JM: Wasn't that great? We were taken aback by it since they don't typically say the names of the clothes they're wearing.

Did you know ones of your dresses was going to be featured that night?
JM: Not really, we knew they pulled for the show, and we got an email saying the dress would appear that evening, but we didn't know it would be so prominent. They have a great costume department.

It's nice to see the breadth of women who are drawn to your clothes.
MB: It's funny because that gown worn on the show on an 18-year-old character was also worn by Helen Mirren last week! It was designed for her, and she wore it to an awards show in Europe. And we loved seeing this young gorgeous girl wearing it in the same week.

And what do you attribute that multigenerational appeal to?
MB: Our clothes have always done that. We're not super trendy or overtly sexy. The dresses have always appealed to a range of age groups. We're about elegance and sophistication and glamour.

So it's about the woman who embodies the dress?
MB: Absolutely. We realized that some years ago when a high school student bought a dress of ours in Beverly Hills for her prom that Liz Taylor bought in the same day.

And speaking of Liz… I understand you just launched a fine jewelry line.
MB: Yes. This week we launched diamonds. James and I love stones. Vintage jewelry has always inspired us and our collections. We launched a beautiful collection of colored diamonds and clear diamonds too with a touch of vintage quality to it. There's an arabesque signature pattern throughout the collection. And funny enough, we launched the collection the day we went to see the Elizabeth Taylor collection of jewels on display at Christie's.

Oh, the preview for the upcoming auction?
MB: Yes. It was unbelievable. I've never … no words to describe what it must be like to have that kind of range of jewelry in your possession. Every earring is the size of your fist!  So our little diamond collection looks puny in comparison!

I'm sure that's not so. Tell me about your new suite at the Breakers.

MB: We're heading up there for a photo shoot on Friday, actually. The Breakers was kind enough to ask us to do their Imperial Suite, and we worked on it for about a year. The space is gorgeous and has great bones. You feel like you're on a ship because all you see is ocean from every angle.

And what was the inspiration behind the design?
MB: It's very glamorous, but we were very respectful of the property because the people who own it are all about heritage. We took inspiration from the local homes—some of them belonging to our friends–from the 1920s. We custom built some of the furniture, but a lot of pieces were locally sourced from the Palm Beach antiques stores. It's glamourous but very Floridian. We worked in corals, blushes, sandy tones. We made it feminine.

Is that the first design project?
JM: Yes—except for our own homes.

Will we see more interior design projects from Badgley Mischka?
MB: It was fun. We really enjoyed it. It was really fun to do a hotel project, so we'll see.

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