By GERRY BARKER
North Palm Beach Life
"Culture and Cocktails is back, baby!"
And back in a big way. The longstanding series, presented by the Palm Beach Cultural Council, held its first in-person event in over two years Monday night in a new location -- The Ben Hotel in downtown West Palm Beach, where a large crowd gave an enthusiastic welcome to famed fashion designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka.
Framed by panoramic views of the waterfront from The Ben's rooftop ballroom, arts patron Roe Green moderated "A Stylish Conversation" with the iconic design team, whose clients include Jennifer Lopez, Sharon Stone, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren and Madonna, to name a few.
The two designers, who launched their business in 1988, reflected on their careers, their fashion philosophy and what drives fashion in Palm Beach, where they have a residence. Some notable quotes:
Their approach to fashion:
-- "We love change and spontaneity. The beat goes on -- that's our motto. Otherwise, I don't think you could be in fashion."
-- "Fashions change a lot. Style never does."
-- "Our clothes lead so much more interesting lives than we do. They live spectacular lives."
On Palm Beach:
-- "We moved here a few years ago and are constantly inspired by the Palm Beach woman."
-- "We have always had a thing about Palm Beach. The restaurants, the shopping, the weather -- of course. So international -- it's a really special place. We have thousands of accounts all over the world ...Palm Beach may be the best."
On Palm Beach chic:
-- "It's so identifiable. It's what Beverly Hills wishes it could be. The Palm Beach woman is confident; she knows what she likes. Relaxed, simple, fun. Glamorous and gorgeous at night. "
Outside of fashion, Badgley's other love is animals, and specifically, the horses he owns and keeps in Wellington. "Every spare second and penny goes into my love of horses," he said. Mischka said he loves cooking, cars and re-doing houses. "He's an amazing chef," said Badgley. Mischka added: "He can only have as many horses as I have cars."
Summing up, their fashion mantra is keeping it real.
"We are focused on the real woman, from Beyonce to Barbra Streisand," said Badgley. "Real clothes for real women. There's nothing more boring than making beautiful clothes that women don't wear. Clothes need to feel right. Otherwise, what's the point."
Exploring what to see and do in North Palm Beach and the South Florida area. Your hosts are Pam and Gerry Barker.
Listen to Chapter One of "Panama Palmer"