Born in Wisconsin, Mischka lived in California and New Jersey before decamping to New York and enrolling at Parsons, where he met Mark Badgley. The couple first came up with a plan for a joint fashion line on a post-graduation vacation to Mexico. In 1988, they quit their jobs—Mischka has been working at Yves St. Laurent and Willi Smith—to go out on their own: Their first collection of glamorous gowns was quickly snapped up by buyers for Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys.
In 1992, Badgley Mischka was acquired by Escada. Although their high-end gowns remained red carpet staples over the next decade (as well as a highly regarded bridal line launched in 1997), the label wasn't a financial success and Escada put it on the auction block in 2004. When there weren't any takers, Badgley Mischka was forced to close its doors. Then in 2004, Neil Cole's Iconix (the powerhouse that owns Candies and Rocawear, among other brands) stepped into the picture and purchased Badgley Mischka for less than a million and later providing the funding to revive the label. Badgley Mischka has since branched out into handbags, eyewear, and jewelry. While red carpet starlets have long been fans of Badgley Mischka's glam designs, the duo had never attracted a wide following. That changed following the Iconix acquisition, when Badgley Mischka signed a number of licensing deals and unveiled more moderately-priced lines of day-wear. The duo has also amped up their visibility with ad campaigns featuring young starlets Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen and Rumer Willis. They also drop by the judge's table on Project Runway every so often. [Image via Getty]