Badgley Mischka Makes a Splash in Newport

June 12, 2010 at 3:32 pm 13 comments

Mark Badgley and James Mischka in their Bellevue Avenue Shop

While chic new names including Lily Holt, Sequin, Boo Gemes and J. McLaughlin have filled the retail real estate gaps along Bellevue Avenue within the past few weeks, the addition of internationally-acclaimed Badgley Mischka is surely the feather in “the avenue’s” fashionable cap.

Best known for their exquisite couture gowns that grace red carpets around the globe, the lauded design duo of Mark Badgley and James Mischka have had their sights set on Newport for a pop-up concept store for some time. “With Worth Avenue in Palm Beach being torn up, we

Badgley Mischka accessories line the shelves

thought we should look at different locations for the summer, maybe permanence, and Newport was on the top of our list because so many of our customers do come here and we always loved Newport,” says Mischka, referring to the stylish stretch along Palm Beach’s tony Worth Avenue, which is presently undergoing considerable construction. “Newport has always been very inspiring; we’ve gone to the mansions and always pictured our couture gowns fitting in there,” adds Badgley.

Badgley Mischka, Spring 2010

The two designers, who met while studying at Parsons School of Design in New York, spent time designing for leading names— Badgley for Donna Karan; Mischka, the men’s collection for WilliWear by Willi Smith— before launching their own line in 1988. Since then, Badgley Mischka made their mark in the fashion industry by establishing a signature style, inspired by the old Hollywood glamour of the 1940s, that truly celebrates the well-dressed women.

It makes sense that the designers were drawn to the 1500-sqaure-foot space at the corner of Prospect Hill Street and Bellevue Avenue, which was formerly occupied by design and home accent outfit Carroll Michael & Co. for more than thirty years. At some point before that in its history, the space was an apothecary. With warm, wide-plank pine floors, superfluous natural light, built-in shelving and cabinetry, and a pair of floor-to-ceiling arched windows, the address was an idyllic locale to house Badgley Mischka’s third retail location (their line is carried at upscale department stores including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue). “We love the space

Mark Badgley and James Mischka going through the Newport shop's colorful lot

because it is sort of historical, and our store on Sunset Boulevard has a sense of history, and our new store on Rodeo Drive that we’re opening in July or August is in the old 1920s Writers’ Building, where Laurel and Hardy had their offices, and we’re keeping the history of all these spaces intact,” says Mischka. “We didn’t want to make this space slick and modern; we wanted to make it clean, like a gallery.” With the mix of hand-selected pieces from the Badgley Mischka Collection, Badgley Mischka Couture and the more contemporary Mark + James by Badgley Mischka, the space is akin to a gallery; most especially recognizable in the couture pieces that cast little reflections of light around the room due to the gowns’ elaborate embellishments and gemstone details. “We love embellishments,” Badgley gushes. Two rows of brightly-hued formal gowns, jewel-encrusted caftans and blouses made from rich silks that cascade over the physique hang in the center of the space, while less formal pieces— tops, day dresses and more— align one wall and along the old apothecary’s shelves, once lined with pills and potions, is eye-catching jewelry (many pieces— coral earrings, scallop shell bracelets— inspired by the sea), handbags and accessories. “I think the swimsuits are going to do well as well; they’re very ’40s inspired. This one is my favorite,” says Mischka, holding up a one-piece swimsuit with a slightly twisted ruched neckline. “It’s so simple, but the draping is just so flattering…it’s so Rita Hayworth.” The two say their current cruise collection, which debuted in Miami, was inspired by the Gilded Age, “so Newport has always been an inspirational place for us,” explains Badgley.

Badgley and Mischka say they have “cherry-picked” pieces for the Newport shop to complement the market here and have more pieces on the way. “We just did new ones for the store. They’re not here yet, but are all done as hydrangea; pink hydrangea and blue hydrangea— they’re divine,” says Badgley.  During their tenure here, they’re likely to do a few bridal trunk shows, which will be a grand addition to Newport’s thriving bridal industry. As for more casual pieces, there’s a diverse offering each with their own appeal. Pulling a knee-know flowered frock out to show me, Mark Badgley smiles, “They’re feminine, happy, pretty, little garden dresses…I think ruffles work up here, don’t you think?” I couldn’t agree more.

The Newport Badgley Mischka shop at 115 Bellevue Avenue, say the designers, will be open here through early autumn.

Portions of this article originally appeared on; all photos except runway image by Tom Shevlin

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13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Carol Kane  |  June 12, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    GOOD LUCK!!!!!! So many high end stores come here thinking only of the “Imaginary” Newport. As a rule, we DO NOT GET the customers they are thinking of. We get mostly every day middle class customers and lots of families. Many people before thought Newport should be full of Rodeo Drive shops like Tiffany, Louis Vuitton etc. It would never, never, never work. Best of luck guys but don’t hold your breath.

    • 2. Andrea McHugh  |  June 12, 2010 at 6:59 pm

      You make a good point, Carol, but in this case, Badgley Mischka is a pop-up shop. Pop-up shops, stores that occupy a retail space only for a short amount of time, have become an international phenomenon. While commercial owners and the community may prefer long term leases, the Badgley Mischka pop-up concept store will only operate through early fall,
      capitalizing on the seasonal marketplace and thereby lease a space that may otherwise have sat empty. It will be interesting to evaluate by season’s end, the measure of their success.

  • 3. cynthia at the daily basics  |  June 12, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    TO DIE FOR!!!! need I say more

    • 4. Andrea McHugh  |  June 12, 2010 at 7:00 pm

      Cynthia, the formal evening dresses there are simply exquisite!

  • 5. Ashley from The Rhode Show  |  June 14, 2010 at 9:24 am

    well I will definitely being popping up at the pop up!

    • 6. Andrea McHugh  |  June 14, 2010 at 4:30 pm

      It’s worth the trip:)

  • 7. Welcome, New Neighbors! « The Newport Stylephile  |  June 16, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    […] reported on Badgley Mischka’s launch last week and J. McLaughlin’s arrival in May. Oh, and ps: We just got word of another […]

  • 8. Andrea McHugh  |  July 14, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Meg, thank you for the expert editing eyes on that- looks like, as you suspected, I was missing an “e.” Improper use of words irritates me as well- misuse of “famous” and “infamous” chief among them. (Apologies for the delayed response- your comment found its way to the spam folder.)

  • […] at the corner of Newport’s toniest address and Prospect Hill Street spent last summer housing a Badgley Mischka pop-up shop. Last spring, the design duo of Mark Badgley and James Mischka told me they were […]

  • […] can be without it’s own separate space. The ballgowns, cocktail dresses and caftans that defined Badgley Mischka’s Bellevue Avenue pop-up shop and made a fashionable splash last summer (in the space that is now home to the Sara Campbell […]

  • […] and designers/sisters Kim and Linda Renk have lent their skills to globally-adored lines including Badgley Mischka, Ralph Lauren, J. Mendel, Henri Bendel, Bloomingdales and Neiman […]

  • […] and designers/sisters Kim and Linda Renk have lent their skills to globally-adored lines including Badgley Mischka, Ralph Lauren, J. Mendel, Henri Bendel, Bloomingdales and Neiman […]

  • 13. Victoria  |  May 16, 2014 at 5:20 am

    Wow, marvelous blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is magnificent, let alone the content!


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