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Wednesday July 17th, 2019 12:59PM

Badgley Mischka sizzles with sparkle, stretch

By The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Veteran evening wear designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka painted the town red at their spring show during New York Fashion Week. Their latest collection had sparkle and stretch with more tailored silhouettes and a surprise all-red finale that had every model dressed in short crimson dresses storming the runway.

Badgley Mischka, known for lush fabrics with rich color and detail, bookended the show with commanding, memorable looks. Set against the backdrop of a twinkling Manhattan skyline outside giant loft windows, the show opened with a shimmering gold sequined pantsuit worn by a model adorned in gold makeup.

Sequins sparkled throughout the presentation in many body-hugging sheath dresses embellished with jeweled beading and short cape overlays. The designers said their inspiration was post-war glamour and a "feeling of optimism and power."

"It's a little different for us in the fact that for spring, we're very colorful, very diaphanous, tons of fabric and sweep in every gown. This collection has a little more of a laser focus to it. The silhouettes are cut a little closer to the body, it's a little sleeker, a little more streamlined perhaps than we normally go," Badgley said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday.

Not only were this season's looks more tailored than usual for the brand, the designers also added stretch to most of the garments for extra fit.

In addition to metallic sequins, there were muted, earthy taupes and browns. Several models wore wool turtleneck sweaters with three-dimensional woven flowers and beading paired with long, glistening pants with large, fabric sash belts.

The designers' signature evening wear had more classic colors of white, hunter green and black. Several necklines were plunging V's, accentuated by a wrap of fabric around the waist or by dazzling embellishments.

One standout was a long white dress with a low V-neck and unexpected bell sleeves with a slit reaching up to the bicep, where a tight band of white beads circled the arm like stripes on a uniform.

Most of the models wore ponytails to accentuate the designers' elaborate, dangly earrings made of gleaming gems, feathers and fabric, some hanging as long as 4 inches.

For the dramatic ending, guests were surprised when the gaggle of models conquered the runway all at once, wearing the same fire-engine red color in different styles and matching red shoes. It was a sea of legs drawing eyes up to short dresses made of various fabrics including lace, velvet and feathers.

Models are usually stone-faced as they walk, but as this group strolled back down the runway, many were smiling and clapping to the cheers of the crowd.

Kelly Killoren Bensimon called the red finale "unbelievable." The author and TV personality sat in the front row of the show with other celebrities, including actress Molly Shannon and model and entrepreneur Kathy Ireland.

"The accessories were over the top, the shoes were so beautiful and they have stretch in their clothes this season," Bensimon said. "Who doesn't love that?"

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