Why did you decide to launch Badgley Mischka?
Mark & James: We really wanted to do our own thing and the American market was saturated in sportswear. We just jumped into it! We started our careers with one rack of 12 little black cocktail dresses.
What made you decide to go down the wedding dress pathway?
M& J: We started getting requests from customers like, ‘Can you do this dress in white for my wedding?’ We thought it was a great idea because we were ready to do bridal dresses. Our goal was to make white evening dresses to get married in.
What do you love most about what you do?
M& J: With evening clothes it’s really about fantasy – women can escape a little bit. They’re willing to indulge. They want to wear something beautiful and it’s really fun to design clothes like that. What I love about fashion is you constantly get to evolve and create. You never, ever, ever have a chance to get bored.
How many hours on average do you spend making one gown, especially when things like beading and intricate details are involved?
M& J: Typically the beading is done by men – and often 20 men can be sitting around a frame for close to four weeks to make a sample. We did a funny statistic that our wedding gowns fly 120,000 miles [193,121km] by the time the fabric goes back and forth, the beading is done, and we get to work – the Frequent Flyer miles would pay for the honeymoon! Something like 67 people are involved, that’s just what it takes to make one of our bridal gowns. So it’s discouraging when a bride says, ‘I want that gown in a week’ and you know it’s not possible.
Do you enjoy working in the wedding industry and what makes it special for you?
M& J: It’s really special because it’s obviously one of the most important days of these women’s lives. The passion and the energy are immense and a lot of emotion goes into it. It’s a big deal. It’s an honour when a bride chooses one of our dresses. It’s just as important to us that she loves her gown and its perfection because it’s a very, very special moment in this person’s life.
Their incredible creations have made them a favourite of celebrities around the world
How did you come up with the style and aesthetic of the bridal brand?
M& J: It really was creating white evening dresses that people could get married in. There are obviously some bridal nuances and final touches that you make for bridal as opposed to other wear. For our brides, we really treat it as if she was going to the Academy Awards or the Grammies, but she just happens to be wearing white.
Our gowns are very inspired by old Hollywood and we translate that look into bridal. That’s what the girls come to us for. They love the glamour, the cut, the beading and the embroidery, and that heirloom quality.
Who’s the most amazing person you’ve ever dressed?
M& J: We’ve been lucky to have a lot of them actually. I think one of our favourites was working with Jennifer Lopez. We started with her very early in her career and she wore us to four different Academy Awards. She always puts a dress on and looks absolutely incredible in it. She has so much confidence, she doesn’t care if someone’s worn the dress or who’s seen the dress. She knows she’s going to look better in it than anyone else – such a style icon! We also loved dressing Halle Berry, she’s fantastic. Kate Winslet we love, she’s really chic in an evening gown. Helen Mirren is also one of our favourites. She’s extremely inspiring and she’s gorgeous.
What trends are next?
M& J: We’re doing a lot of gowns that you can change the look within the gown. For example, it’ll be a beautiful, sexy, skinny little jewelled cocktail dress, but there’ll be an enormous Grace Kelly skirt over it. So the bride wears the gown for the ceremony then peels the skirt off and has the hot, sexy little gorgeous jewelled dress for her reception. I think there’s romanticism coming back into bridal dresses as well. A little bit of minimalism. Every bride wants to look absolutely beautiful, timeless and ravishing and that’s why romanticism is coming back in a strong way. We find that even the coolest bride wants to look this way. It’s amazing to us how classic she tends to go on the day of her wedding. I think she knows she’s going to be looking at those pictures for the rest of her life.
What are your favourite looks?
M& J: I loved a look we recently did for a customer. The girl was in the most simple, strapless, column gown, but it was a beautiful fit and she paired it with an extremely embellished veil. The veil was completely over the top – there were jewels, semiprecious stones, pearls and ruffles and embroidered lace. It was the focal point and it paired up so beautifully.
Do you have a most popular gown?
M& J: Customers come to us for a more fitted, mermaid kind of silhouette – a little bit more redcarpet. All the dresses we do in that silhouette are typically our most popular and bestselling gowns.
What made you decide to bring the brand to Australia?
M& J: James and I were fortunate enough to buy our company back this past year from a large corporation so we have been looking at different ways to expand our business. Part of that is to work a little bit more internationally. James and I have always loved Australia, and we thought it’d be a really fascinating way to break into that market with bridal.