The humidity was nearly 90% as I trudged to the site of the Badgley Mischka runway show on what I thought was 11th ave (press actually had to trudge one more avenue, to 12th). Hot, sticky and achy, I was finally allowed access into the backstage area. As usual, my name wasn’t on the list, but I showed my credentials and was allowed in. There was a large setup with water, juice, wraps, guacamole and chips, and salad. None of the models were eating, but the press and production crew were. I ate a piece of a wrap and had a water, then sauntered into the hair and makeup area, where I was rewarded with a smile and a friendly greeting from AVEDA’s Kevin Ryan (I had seen him doing the hair for Monique’s show the day before). Kevin explained that the look for the Badgley Mischka show was a low ponytail, looped upon itself, a more sleek version of what a woman might actually do at home. It was very graceful and elegant(although after a few dress changes, the loose ponytail on some of the girls ended up gracefully, undone). *more details on hair and makeup will be revealed on the Advice Sisters Web site and the Advice Sisters Enews (zine) in the coming weeks. I also spoke briefly to MAC runway guru Tom Pecheux. No harsh makeup or red lips here — he created a light look for the girls, including soft, grey eyes, no blush, and nude lips, which gave a modern simplicity to the evening looks these girls would be wearing. And the clothes? Mark Badgley and James Mischka spent 17 years dressing celebrities for high profile events, but with prices beginning at $3,000 per gown, the company was losing money. After being purchased by Escada and still not becoming profitable, the company shut it’s doors. It was then purchased by the Iconix Brand Group with a new view–to re-create Badgley Mischka as a brand that can sell sneakers as well as evening gowns. But the collection I saw definitely was glamorous, even if it was supposed to appeal to slightly less glittering customer and a broader audience. There were beautifully tailored evening suits and short dresses (with a definite 60’s, vibe) in linen hopsack, cotton and silk, some with lace or beads (I could envision Jackie Kennedy Onassis in one of these) and flowing, chiffon skirts paired with cashmere sweaters, belted with wide, braided belts.
There were also lots of opulent evening gowns, some beaded, some ethereal chiffon, and some with overlays of satin and lace. My favorite was a relatively unadorned, heavy, strapless, black cotton gown with a graceful train, which reminded me of the kind of gown Audrey Hepburn would have liked. In general, the colors were muted, a soft, greyed blue, ivory, greige, tobacco, and black. To be sure, there was gold, rhinestones and beads, but much less than in some of the other collections. I have no idea what the retail prices of these clothes will be, but I can see that a woman seeking a beautiful gown or outfit for a special occasion would find the clothes accessible and realistic.
After the show, I wandered through the lobby, realizing that if I didn’t leave early enough I’d have to fight with a huge crowd for a cab, or walk four avenues back to the subway at night. Going to the venue on foot was ok, because it was still somewhat light outside, but I didn’t want to wander back through the deserted streets in the dark, alone.
To get out, you had to walk the runway (at least one side of it). This dual-sided runway was huge, more the size of an airplane runway than a show runway. The room was cavernous (I assume there were about 2,000 people there but maybe more). At the end of it were some celebrities (the names I heard were Ashanti and Bette Midler, among others) but I couldn’t see them because of the swarms of cameras. There were large, votive candals light throughout the lobby, giving this large space the look of a cathedral. Along one wall were banks of bartenders, and others circulating with white wine and champagne. I sipped half a glass (of champagne) and made my way out to the street, to a cab, to home.