Scentbird recently caught up with Mark Badgley and James Mischka, founders and the creative force behind the Badgley Mischka line, to find out more about their artistic process and ideas on fragrance. Their passion is definitely on display in their detailed and thoughtful responses.
1. We love how you describe your couture line as “always with an embellished element.” How does that idea translate to perfume, where the emphasis is on how something smells rather than visual cues?
James – We knew we wanted to start with a floral, luxurious, creamy base that forms the heart of the perfume and then build upon that adding embellishment. It’s the top notes, the effervescence of the fragrance combined with the other florals that then mix with amber and musk and the base of the magnolia blossom that make this scent so special. The same way that we embellish our gowns with up to 300 different kinds of beads on each gown we wanted to have a lot of different elements in the perfume as well so it wasn’t just one note or just a five note experience.
Mark – As James mentioned, with our Couture gowns we will use 25 different fabrics and embroideries and lining and hundreds of beads, jewels and hand painted pieces that we embellish with. Magnolia was the foundation of the scent and we built upon that foundation layering in the complementary notes that enhance the heart of the fragrance. It’s a similar process to when we build a couture gown.
2. How does your inspiration for perfume differ than what would inspire you in a couture design?
James – Couture is designed for a specific customer, for a particular woman. Each one is designed and inspired by a certain personality. We wanted the fragrance to be more encompassing so that it works with a lot of different people and speaks to a lot of different age groups, personalities and personas.
Mark – With couture gown design, a lot of thought goes into the weight of the fabric, how it’s falling from the shoulder or cascading from the waist and how it flows. Designing this perfume was more about weightlessness. To me our designs are anchored and perfume to me is just light. It’s ethereal, it’s something I can’t see or touch but it evokes an emotion, a memory, a feeling.
3. Do you design your line with all elements in mind first, or do you consider your perfume line and couture line as having separate personalities?
James – It fits perfectly into the Badgley Mischka identity. Everything designed by Badgley Mischka always has a thread of glamour running through it whether it’s a couture gown or the fragrance. They both have to speak to the desire of the customer and she wants to have that glamorous experience.
4. Talk to us about your inspiration behind the magnolia note as a centerpiece to your new namesake Eau de Parfum.
James – This goes back to the horse farm Mark and I had in Kentucky, where we used to spend our weekends. We would wake up every Saturday morning and you just smell magnolia blossoms from the trees on our property. The scent is so intoxicating, so luxurious. It really stayed with us to this day and now every time I smell magnolia blossoms it brings me back to that farm, which we love.
Mark – And visually when you look at a magnolia petal it is the whitest, purest object that you can lay eyes on. It is the most perfect thing in nature and it seems to me like the most cherished and most regal ingredient that you can pull a scent from.
5. What’s next for Badgley Mischka? What can your fans look forward to in 2019 and beyond?
James – It’s our goal to make this scent a gorgeous, memorable classic. The bottle is so beautiful and makes a statement on a woman’s vanity. The color reminds me of Elizabeth Taylor’s eyes and my dream for this is to see a wardrobe of limited edition extensions to follow in different gemstones. As our brand continues to expand globally, we hope to connect with women all around the world so that they get to experience a piece of what we do.
Mark – We will also have the Badgley Mischka flagship boutique on Sunset Blvd opening up at the end of the year. We’ve expanded into children’s footwear and dresses, home décor, we have a denim collection coming up. We hope to become a lifestyle brand and fragrance certainly leads the way as the most glamorous of our offerings. There is nothing more glamorous to us than a fragrance.
James – These opportunities are opening more doors so that people who haven’t experienced Badgley Mischka before can now bring a part of our brand home with them which is exciting to us.