- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mark Badgley and James Mischka, the designing duo behind the luxury label Badgley Mischka, made a rare appearance in Washington Tuesday for a charity fashion show for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chevy Chase.

Household names in affluent zip codes in New York and Los Angeles, Mr. Badgley and Mr. Mischka are known for sashaying their frocks down red carpets on the backs of stars such as Madonna, Julia Roberts and Kate Winslet.

Will first-lady-in-waiting Michelle Obama be added to the list of their illustrious clientele?

“No,” Mr. Badgley replied when asked by The Washington Times if they had been tapped to design Mrs. Obama’s inaugural gown. However, he praised Maria Pinto, Mrs. Obama’s Chicago-based and lesser-known clothier.

Miss Pinto designed many of the campaign-trail sheaths worn by Mrs. Obama that landed her squarely on the best-dressed lists. Many fashion insiders think Miss Pinto is the right choice for the gown design.

Mrs. Obama “has great stature, and the gown will look stunning on her whoever designs it,” Mr. Badgley says. “We are hoping she chooses something simple but in a great color like a red or green.”

As for Secretary of State-designate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, Mr. Badgley says she has big pumps to fill to represent American women around the world in the wake of the polished and self-confessed fashion lover Condoleezza Rice.

“We love seeing Hillary in very simple, tailored suits,” Mr. Badgley opined. “For evening, a fitted jacket with a fishtail skirt would be nice. Nothing too full or frumpy, which she has done before.”

Mr. Badgley says President-elect Barack Obama could follow the same style advice. “He has a very narrow frame, so he should narrow his suits more. His pants are a little too baggy for us,” he says.

Mr. Badgley and Mr. Mischka debuted their Platinum Evening Collections for 2009 at the fashion show. Models strutted down the catwalk, eliciting oohs and ahs from onlookers for the feminine chiffon samples.

“We were inspired by our favorite movies of the 1940s and ‘50s. ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’ and ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ are our favorites,” Mr. Mischka said. “This is a celebration of color.”

The designers agree that Washington’s reputation as a style-free zone can be corrected easily. “The trick is to make sure your suits fit well,” Mr. Badgley explains. “Then add a touch of color or big, bold accessories to keep classic suiting up-to-date and fresh.”

Will Badgley Mischka be joining the growing number of luxury designers gracing Wisconsin Avenue and Tysons Corner with a boutique anytime soon?

“Oh, we would love to be here,” Mr. Badgley says. “This is a great market for us.”

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