Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka have long been the darlings of Hollywood celebrities and publications such as Vogue, which named them among the “Top 10 American Designers.” The classical silhouettes of their glamorous gowns, their predilection for luxurious, yet understated embellishments and their ability to distinguish between good taste and wanton excess is what garnered loyal support for the duo’s collections. It is therefore not surprising to discover that Badgley Mischka has pursued a union of fashion with fragrance via their eponymous release created by the Firmenich perfumer Richard Herpin.
Initially, Badgley Mischka does not deviate from the now popular formula initiated by Thierry Mugler Angel—sweet gourmand notes allied with patchouli. Badgley Mischka offers its sensual Angelic form rendered through nectar-like fruitiness, somewhat resembling Chanel Allure Sensuelle and Miss Dior Chérie, which also hit the fruity top notes. Yet, modulated by a warm sandalwood base, the effect is much more sophisticated than most fruity Angel variations. Like tiers of lace and tulle composed of the floral sweetness of guava, the luscious softness of apricot, the resinous tartness of mango and the spicy darkness of black currant, the fruity notes envelop one in a shimmering veil which fades slowly into ambery woods.
Despite its resemblance to Miss Dior Chérie, Badgley Mischka strikes me as significantly more interesting, primarily due to the fact that it does not conjure the image of a bubble gum snapping teenager. While Badgley Mischka laughs easily, it does not overwhelm with its gaiety. Indeed, I applaud the design duo for instilling glamour and sophistication into what could have been just another bowl of fruit salad. Among fragrances that try to be both glamorous and sexy, Badgley Mischka is one of the few that succeed.
Badgley Mischka features notes of red berries, peach, crème de cassis, jasmine, osmanthus, white peony, caramel amber, sandalwood, patchouli, and sueded musks. It is available from Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman and other major retailers.
Sample: my own acquisition
Photo: Badgley Mischka gown from fashionforum.com.