With no viable backers stepping forward to rescue Badgley Mischka, the designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka said Monday they will not produce a spring collection.
Badgley Mischka has been majority owned by Escada (USA) Inc. since 1992, but the designer eveningwear brand was put on the block last October as part of Escada’s ongoing global restructuring. Although a number of companies have held discussions with the designers and Escada executives over the last several months, they jointly said in a statement on Monday that “an agreement has not been finalized thus far and funding is therefore not available for a spring-summer collection.”
That Badgley Mischka — one of the star labels of the New York fashion scene — could not attract another backer in that time has confounded many of the executives involved in its sale, considering the consistently strong showings by the designers in editorial reviews and in celebrity press clippings. But the high cost of producing the designers’ elaborately embroidered and beaded evening gowns and promoting a designer evening collection that is not yet supported by a high-volume licensing business has been cited as a factor in their lack of aggressive suitors.
The designers allocate a budget in the neighborhood of $500,000 to produce their seasonal runway shows, which Escada was no longer willing to support in the face of its own cost-cutting measures.
Badgley and Mischka, both 43, were not available for comment on Monday, and officials at Escada, which owns an estimated 80 percent of the business, deferred questions beyond the designers’ statement for the time being. The design duo, who are co-presidents of B.E.M. Enterprise Ltd., will continue to seek a new financial partner for the company.
Badgley Mischka, with annual retail sales estimated around $40 million, is expected to continue with the production and deliveries of its fall collection, and will support sales with personal appearances and public relations, according to the statement. However, several positions are expected to be eliminated at the company, which has a staff of more than 60 at its offices at 525 Seventh Avenue, and additional cost-cutting measures will be taken in its operations as the division winds down.
Mark Badgley and James Mischka will premiere their fall collection Thursday at Bergdorf Goodman, and among those expected to see the duo’s new cocktail and eveningwear are Cornelia Guest, Mai Harrison, Joanne de Guardiola, Muffie Potter Aston and Cynthia Lufkin. The collection was inspired by an Irving Penn photograph of Charles James ballgowns in muted shades of pink, blue and champagne. The show marks the return of Badgley Mischka to Bergdorf’s.
I've always LOVED Badgley Mischka, especially their bridal line (never thought I'd say I like a bridal line!), and I always thought they had some of the most beautiful clothes coming out of NYC. So it saddens me to read this.
But, if they're showing their Fall collection at Bergdorf's, then to that, I say:
even though they are not my fave designer team
..here some very good news for Badgley Mischka and their fans
With licenses lined up for handbags and sunglasses, Badgley Mischka’s new owner is not dawdling about expanding the brand’s reach.
Candie’s Inc., which bought the designer label last year, makes no bones about its aggressive growth plan for the company. Candie’s chief executive officer Neil Cole said in a statement, “Interest in the brand has been overwhelming and we are carefully evaluating many opportunities for expansion and developing an exciting marketing plan for the brand.”
For now, Candie’s has inked a licensing deal with Florence-based Franchi Accessories for Badgley Mischka women’s handbags, and has signed another one with Los Angeles-based Sama Eyewear for women’s and men’s sunglasses and optical frames. Both collections will debut at the accessories market in August and will ship to stores for spring 2006.
Franchi will make evening bags to coordinate with the designers’ signature looks, as well as daytime handbags. Retail prices are expected to range from $400 to $1,200.
“It’s important that our bags mirror what we’re doing with the whole company,” James Mischka said. “We want to keep it special, luxurious and signature.”
He and Mark Badgley noted it can be challenging to find companies that understand a design philosophy, and have the resources and talent to execute a vision.
“Candie’s really understands brand management. It is very refreshing to have some really exciting projects in the pipeline,” Badgley said.
The travel is not bad either. Just back from a meeting at Franchi’s Florence headquarters, Mischka said, “There are worse places to do business than Florence.”
The designers said they are delighted to be working with Sama’s designer and ceo Sheila Vance, whom they have known for years. Mischka said he and Badgley plan to marry their vintage and glamorous style with Sama Eyewear’s technical sophistication and innovative materials. Retail prices for sunglasses and eyeglass frames will start at $250 and could go as high as $15,000 for styles made with gold and diamonds in the couture collection.