The star of Badgley Mischka’s fall 2024 fashion show on Saturday wasn’t a runway dress or a brand-dressed A-list guest sitting in the front row. It was a beauty product.
Along with the 35th anniversary of Mark Badgley and James Mischka’s fashion brand, the show marked the debut of the designers’ prestige fragrance collection with Horizon Beauty Group. The company had worked as Badgley Mischka’s fragrance distributor before acquiring its beauty license in 2021.
Found in their seats in a Badgley Mischka-branded cosmetics pouch, guests were treated to full-size bottles of one of two debut scents, the Cap D’Antibes or the Château Vizcaya. In step, the fragrances were made shoppable on badgleymischka.com for $125 each. Online, each scent is also offered in a set of three travel-size bottles for $75. According to a brand representative, 30-50 fragrance products will soon be offered for advanced purchase on the site, with most set to deliver in June. A total of six fragrances will roll out this year.
Also at the show, attendees could step inside the world of Cap D’Antibes via an Instagrammable installation made from the set used during the shoot for the fragrance’s campaign.
“There’s a sophistication in our clothing, and our women love a little bit of nostalgia or a vintage touch. They love beautiful fabrics and beautiful places, and they have a sensibility for creating experiences they like to have,” Badgley said. “We think these scents fit into that mix. They’re a testament to what we stand for. There’s an allure to them, and they’re special.”
Horizon Beauty Group president Carmela Palladino said the company has been working on the prestige fragrance collection with Badgley and Mischka since taking over the license. However, to get the brand into the fragrance market as a proof of concept, via Horizon Beauty Group’s model, it first released a “mid-tier” collection of three fragrances. Each was inspired by old Hollywood and sold in mass channels including off-price stores and JCPenney. One-hundred-milliliter bottles are selling on the brand’s e-commerce site for $54.
Before Horizon Beauty Group’s ownership, Badgley Mischka’s beauty license had been owned by TPR, which acquired it from Riviera Concepts in 2018. Badgley Mischka’s former owner, Candie’s, now called Iconix Brand Group, first sold the license in 2005, to Riviera Concepts.
The Badgley Mischka brand has been independently owned since 2016. It has over a dozen licenses in categories beyond apparel, according to the founders. They include eyewear, footwear and jewelry, among others. But, according to Mischka, he and Badgley are currently focusing their efforts on apparel, followed by beauty where they see great potential.
According to Mischka, fragrance is step one, but “there will be other categories of Badgley Mischka in the beauty world.”
Compared to prior licensing holders, Horizon Beauty Group “put a more modern spin” on Badgley Mischka fragrances, Palladino said. She noted that the Lombardo luxury marketing agency in West Palm Beach developed the Voyage Collection concept for the line based on Badgley and Mischka’s travel stories. Cap D’Antibes, with notes of citrus, jasmine and amber woods, was inspired by a trip to Côte D’Azur. Meanwhile, Château Vizcaya, with florals and coconut musk, took cues from a Florida retreat.
Overall, Badgley called working with the Horizon Beauty Group a “couture, elevated experience” through and through, from working with the team’s noses and production team to its marketing, packaging and PR departments. “They think about fragrance the same way we do, and they’re aligned on who our customer is,” he said, noting that Horizon never said “no” to a request during the development process.
Meanwhile, Palladino called the designers’ level of involvement in the products’ development a rarity in the licensing business. Other fashion-native brands in Horizon Beauty Group’s beauty licensing portfolio include Elie Tahari, Bob Mackey and Betsey Johnson, among others.
Though Badgley called the duo’s fashion collection “ageless,” in that it “sold the same dress to a prom girl and to Barbra Streisand,” for example, he acknowledged that it’s often out of reach for younger shoppers with smaller bank accounts. Many of the brand’s dresses sell for $800-$1,000. The fragrance collection is comparably affordable, offering access to more fans of the brand, he said.
Plus, he added, as it’s “one size fits all” and also available online, “it’s the easiest way to spread the Badgley Mischka mantra to the masses.”
The prestige line will sell at Dillards, Saks, Nordstrom and HSN, with Neiman Marcus tentatively coming on board as a partner in the fourth quarter of the year.
As for their goals for their fragrance line, think Chanel’s success with No. 5
“One day, James and I would love to create a classic perfume that’s got legs — one that our [customer] goes back to and that’s in her fragrance wardrobe, sitting out on her vanity,” Badgley said. “We’re trying to create the ultimate complement to [her life and wardrobe].”
“Each is meant to stand alone and stand the test of time,” Mischka said.
But achieving that level of prestige is not as easy as it once was, not that it was ever easy.
“There are no rules anymore. The consumer is different; the retailer is different; the world is so different. So, [the fact that] something worked in the past doesn’t mean anything today. No one knows [what will work] anymore. Fashionable women have their own point of view; they don’t care if something was featured in Vogue. And the [fashion and beauty brands] that are successful are the brands that are pioneering a way that works for them,” Badgley said. “So, with this company, we all brainstorm together and come up with fresh ideas and fresh ways to do business.”
It’s a good time to be in the prestige fragrance business, as sales in the sector are blowing up. For example, about 53% of Coty’s fiscal 2022 net revenues of $5.3 billion were attributable to prestige fragrance. Of that, approximately 82% were from its top-six prestige fragrance brands, including Hugo Boss, Burberry and Gucci Beauty.
Like Horizon Beauty Group, InterParfums has also been scooping up the fragrance licenses of luxury fashion brands. The company, which expects net sales of $1.45 billion in 2024, counts Ferragamo and Oscar de la Renta among its portfolio brands, and it acquired Roberto Cavalli from Coty in July.