Mark Badgley and James Mischka looked west when putting together their pre-fall collection. The pair weren’t California dreaming as much as they were reminiscing. Both moved to the West Coast during their formative years, soaking up the carefree vibe that permeates the region. “A lot of this was inspired by our families,” says Badgley. “My mom had the sofa in the look book and the chair in teal blue. We have all these pictures of her sitting in it in the living room, laughing; those colors made their way into the dresses.”
Upbeat, effortless glamour was the focus, the warm color palette drawn from the decor and the blush and terra-cotta tones one finds in a Santa Barbara sunset. Working with crepes and satin-faced georgettes, they kept the fabrications elegant. The silhouettes—tea-length dresses with flared skirts, breezy striped maxidresses, and halter-neck styles covered in tile print—skewed casual. One could save these pieces for an occasion, but it’s just as easy to imagine the looks paired with the collection’s deep red motorcycle jacket.
The lighthearted vibe may have something to do with Badgley and Mischka’s secondary muse: comedy legend Lucille Ball whose ’60s wardrobe featured similar shapes. “Everyone remembers her silliness and comic timing, but she was an absolute beauty,” says Mischka. A model for Hattie Carnegie at the start of her career and a stylish B-movie queen, Ball had moments of overt glamour, and that mood made its way into the collection too. A pink paillette-covered evening look even calls to mind her scene-stealing segment in MGM’s Ziegfeld Follies, where she and an army of pastel-clad dancers re-create the theatrical revue.