A first-time trip to Cartagena, Colombia, made dreaming up Pre-Fall an almost too-easy task for Mark Badgley and James Mischka. The hotel they stayed in, a 450-year-old monastery, was a stomping ground for women “dressed to the nines,” said Mischka, who, along with Badgley, was inspired by the locals’ sense of color. “Every girl looked like Sofia Vergara,” he said. A 1950s Studebaker parked in the hotel’s driveway also charmed the designers, persuading them to reference mid-century silhouettes. Yes, there were fitted-bodice ball gowns in opulent brocades, plunging jeweled necklines, and allover sequin columns that will please Badgley and Mischka’s party-season customer. But the almost-daywear-pieces—in particular, a pair of crepe gauchos and a blouson cocktail dress decorated with flowering vines inspired by their hotel’s wall—were equally compelling, if not more so.

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