Designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka often take inspiration from their travels and from classic icons and their latest collection combined both. Badgley said they had actress Claudette Colbert in mind when creating these looks, as she and other ex-pats brought Hollywood glamour to Barbados and other islands in the 1940s and 50s.
"It was our imagination of how they dressed at night and photos that we've seen. There was a certain kind of decadence and ease in the way they dressed in the evening. And all of our clothes this season...are weightless. We did the pinky test and if you couldn't pick up the gown with your pinky they were too heavy," Badgley told The Associated Press backstage before the show Wednesday.
Badgley Mischka recently introduced a swimwear line and some of those designs were on display. A one-piece bathing suit had a high neck and layered cape, while a flower print pantsuit was paired with a string bikini top.
For fans of the designers' eveningwear, there was plenty of sparkle and drama. Standout dresses included a bright fuchsia off-the shoulder gown with a giant peacock blue flower splashed onto one side and beading and silk flowers for texture. The label offered several sequined silhouettes, with signature flower appliques. Sleek sequined suits with fitted cigarette pants and long, belted jackets came in spring shades such as aqua and pink.
The collection also included a set of dresses and capes made of loose eyelet, with ruffled sleeves and beaded shoulders that revealed skin underneath. Actress Ashleigh Murray, who shared the front row with fellow actresses Heidi Gardner and Julia Schlaepfer, said she loved the lightness of the fabrics and the island theme. "It was absolutely breathtaking. All of the jewels and the backs of all the dresses were just stunning and I really loved the see-through —the eyelets — just gorgeous." Murray said.
The collection was inspired by the islands of the Caribbean, which led the designers to act after the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian, they said. The company announced that it would donate 10% of all online sales Wednesday to the Red Cross to help those affected by the storm.
"We were inspired by the Caribbean and by the islands when we started this collection a year ago and we were inspired by the colors and idea of it, Mischka said. "It was heartbreaking to see what happened."