Recently, Mark Badgley and James Mischka, the premier couture designers of Badgley Mishcka, noted that the mannequins throughout their Palm Beach boutique were wearing sunglasses. “It affirmed that sunglasses are accessories just as shoes and handbags are,” says Badgley. “Throughout COVID, when the world shifted to Zoom calls, a person’s eyewear became one of the most noticeable elements of an individual’s style.”
“Eyewear is the first thing another person notices,” says Mischka. “It tells a story about the person, and it’s a fun accessory,” says Mischka. “A pair of fabulous glasses makes a real statement. Especially in a Zoom call but even at other meetings or events, someone may not see a person’s shoes or dress, but they see the eyewear.”
The designers are thrilled to have quality eyewear as part of the brand’s line. Not only do frames add style to the full complement of brand offerings, but they also serve as an affordable introduction to the luxury brand. “We have outlets where we don’t sell our clothing line, but we do sell the eyewear. Badgley Mischka is usually a draw to younger clients, but optical draws in slightly older customers, which allows us to introduce the brand to them,” Mischka says. “My niece, my twin sister and my mother all have similar Badgley Mischka eyewear in their wardrobe,” adds Badgley.
Badgley Mischka has been working with The McGee Group for nearly 10 years, and the designers say they are excited about the ongoing collaboration. “The McGee Group’s sourcing is extraordinary. The product development team designs phenomenal products for the price point. Badgley notes that it’s so impressive because the Badgley Mischka brand requires “excruciating precision. It requires a laser focus to create this eyewear, which I very much respect.”
The McGee Group Vice President of Product Development, Amy Moore, says that’s precisely what she enjoys. She studies the craft behind the clothing, looking at the hand stitching and embellishments that are part of the design. She brings similar delicate detail to the eyewear. “The metal on the frames should be like jewelry. The stones should continue along the top of the frame, so that it’s beautiful from every angle.”
The brand appeals to people in different ways, she says. Some love the embellishments, like crystals. Others prefer different kinds of embellishment, such as gold foil cutouts laminated on the temples to mimic the feeling of lace used throughout the gowns. Still others prefer a more contemporary look. “What we look for is ways to show a shift, a light airiness. For example, we have a model that has an open metal concept where we wanted it to look and feel like the way a Badgley Mischka dress drapes. It looks different depending on the angle and the light.”
Mischka notes he’s impressed that eyewear can achieve that illusion. “There’s an iridescence that comes from the lamination. There’s a flow and a glow, just as iridescent material adds glow to the clothes.”
Badgley notes that the creativity that The McGee Group brings to the eyewear is great. “The quality and materials are terrific. The designers have captured the little idiosyncrasies and the price point is still accessible.” Mischka adds that eyewear has always been sympatico to fashion but that became even more noticeable – literally – during COVID-19, when people so often saw their colleagues only on Zoom. “I was astonished by how often our colleagues would show up in a different pair of eyeglasses each time. People wanted to change their look, and eyewear became an accessible way to do that.”
Despite more movement back to in-person events, neither expects that to change. Indeed, eyewear has become even more of a fashion statement.
Over the past 30 years, Badgley Mischka has become ‘a heritage brand,” says Mischka. “We’re proud of that. Whether it’s bridal, daywear, shoes, handbags, perfumes and now eyewear, the brand represents quality, value and glamour.”