story by Lisa Radano
photos by Charles Beckwith
The first gown out at Badgely Mischka’s fall 2013 Bridal show was named “Heavenly,” and celestial inspiration was abundant throughout the ethereal collection. The Mark Badgley and James Mischka design duo’s gift for enhancing classic silhouettes with intricate embellishment was tendered with a light and charming touch. Crystals and gold bouillon sparkled their way around waists, across bodices, and along panels, as if washed ashore by a glittering sea, or like stars revealed by passing clouds.
“We wanted to make it look like the dress was splashed with water,” said Mr. Badgely.
Indeed, smoky and clear crystals shone like precious droplets nestled in chantilly lace, floated over chiffon, twinkled under layers of net and tulle, encrusted cap sleeves, and gossamer glove-lets, or dripped down the bride’s back from nape to floor. Just as much as fabric was done to, it was also done with. There was ruching, draping and elaborate embroidery. Netting was used for illusion, depth and layering. Pleating of tulle and raw edged organza created full, fluttery skirts and in a carry-over from their Spring 2013 ready to wear collection, a blooming rose that went from bosom to waist and gave the feeling of life unfolding.
All of the dresses had to pass what Mr. Mischka called “the pinkie test” – “if we couldn’t lift the dress on its hanger with a pinkie, it wasn’t in the collection.”
Lightness and fluidity accompanied just enough structure to make a bride feel both secure and comfortable. It is often said that the wedding dress defines the wedding itself, serving as a touchstone for the event and remembered always in photographs. Perhaps the real event is what happens when the dress comes off and the honeymoon begins – for after all, bridal beauty is hope and fertility incarnate. These ethereal, sensual Badgely Mischka wedding gowns then, are as symbolic to take off, as they are to put on.