Fashion / Style

From Updating Downton Abbey to Sailing on Queen Mary 2, Badgley Mischka Redefines Elegance for a New World

A Historic Runway Show at Sea

BY // 02.28.20

NEW YORK — Mark Badgley and James Mischka are known for their glamorous show-stopping gowns. So it’s no surprise that their Badgley Mischka fall ’20 collection, unveiled at New York Fashion Week, has an abundance of dramatic, heavily beaded eveningwear. And yet, the pieces that really stand out are a bit more understated.

Perhaps it’s the Downton Abbey effect, with a little bit of the Beatles’ Abbey Road thrown in.

The duo said their latest collection celebrates “the captivating allure of London style that truly reflects the 20th century,” mixing the luxe costume and set designs of the popular PBS series and movie, set in the ’20s, with a dose of ’60s mix of informality and modern style.

The combo sounds a wee bit unwieldy, but the result is a chic mix of daytime and evening wear looks that balance each other out in a sophisticated way.

Smart daytime looks include eye-catching outerwear, like a camel fringe poncho over animal print slacks and top, a camel coat with black-and-white checked collar, and a multi-animal print and floral coat. Soft floral dresses and windowpane check suits with a touch of sparkle also stand out.

For nighttime, the Badgley Mischka glitter is evident in a series of silver sequined gowns and an ornate gown with a gold sequined long skirt, burgundy velvet sleeves and ornately beaded bodice and back that looks tailor made for The Crown, if not Downton Abbey.

But it’s the simple black nighttime looks that really shine. Badgley and Mischka reinvent the little black dress in chic ways, with a white satin V-neck collar and sleeves adding punch to a black cocktail dress. And there’s no need for jewelry in a black dress with a built-in string of white pearls. The duo also offer a tailored tuxedo with a white bibbed-collar and a black gown with asymmetrical neckline and just a dusting of black sequins at the shoulders that affirm the notion that sometimes simplicity is best.

In fact, the most striking gown in the collection  — a high-neck, sleeveless all-black gown with an intricate lace back and dual train — doesn’t have a sequin or bead on it. (In Houston, the collection is available at Elizabeth Anthony.)

Elizabeth Banks Badgley Mischka
Sixteen years later, actress/director Elizabeth Banks repurposed the red Badgley Mischka gown she wore to the 2004 Vanity Fair Oscar Party for this year’s bash. (File photos)

While fashion week was going on, the duo was also busy with the Oscars. They outfitted Chrissy Metz in a Badgley Mischka Couture custom midnight chiffon empire gown when she performed the Oscar-nominated original song, “I’m Standing with You” from the film Breakthrough during the televised show. Robin Roberts, the co-host of ABC’s Good Morning America, wore a Badgley Mischka Couture blue sequin draped one-shoulder gown to the ceremony.

At the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, Elizabeth Banks wore the same Badgley Mischka red chiffon spaghetti strap gown that she had worn to the party in 2004. Banks collaborated with Badgley and Mischka and her stylists, Wendi & Nicole, to re-purpose the dress to emphasize the importance of fashion and sustainability.

Always looking for new ways to expand the brand, the designers plan to be aboard the Queen Mary 2 during Cunard’s Fifth Annual Transatlantic Fashion Week. They will launch their brand’s 2021 resort collection in an exclusive runway show onboard the Cunard’s flagship ocean liner, leaving Southampton, England, on May 24 and arriving in New York on May 31.

The event will mark the first time a fashion collection has ever been launched in the mid-Atlantic.

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