Friday, June 11, 2010

Designer spotlight: Mara Hoffman

Psychedelic shaman. Futuristic tribal. National Geographic on LSD. These are the best descriptions I can come up with to describe Mara Hoffman's designs, and of course they don't do them justice as much as the pictures or your imagination would. I am OBSESSED with this New York designer at the moment. I first saw one of her swimsuits in Cosmopolitan (my roommate pointed out the swimsuit) and I immediately looked her up.

Mara Hoffman, Resort Swim 2010
I'll let the biography from her own website describe her:
Mara Hoffman has evolved from collections featuring hand-dyed couture pieces to her current collections which concentrate heavily on original silk prints. Her line encompasses everything from swimwear to cashmere coats. Hoffman pulls her inspiration from nature, world travel and fantasy. Her work is shown on the runway during NY Fashion Week.
After doing a little bit of research on this up-and-coming designer and especially after looking at her blog, I came to realize I was absolutely in love with her. I would say she was one of the originators of the IKAT print, the popularization of which has recently come from the fruition of many Spring 2010 looks.    She seems to base her work off of inspiration more than anything else.    You can see in her earlier works she was influenced by Emilio Pucci prints and the fashions of the 1970s.  They remind me of LSD-ingesting, pot-smoking American hippies vacationing in Morocco in 1974, searching for nirvana. You also see elements of African and East-Asian prints in her works.  This is why I say she was the originator and master of this season's prints trend, simply because she's been doing ethinic prints for so long now, and she does it the best.

Printed romper, Mara Hoffman, spring 2007.

A beautiful printed silk jumpsuit from Mara Hoffman, spring 2008.

She combines different staple items from around the world and from different cultures, such as scarves and chiffon tunics and leggings from South Asia, full length printed maxi dresses from Africa, headwear from the Middle East. It's this mix of modern and traditional, either with fabrics, prints, or designs that keeps me wanting to look at more. Her Fall 2008 runway collection emitted inspirations from the Middle East, one of her looks even incorporating the hijab headscarf worn by many Middle eEastern women. She was one of the modern originators of print on print; she's able to dress the whole body in one print without it looking tacky.

Printed maxi dress with scarf, Mara Hoffman, Fall 2008

Although Mara Hoffman has definitely maintained her own style, she has also improved and evolved as a designer, and continues to do so. Her Spring 2009 runway displays her move away from monotonous fabrics to a mix of different textiles, such as silks, cottons, leathers, and chiffon and an increased awareness of the importance of tailoring.

Mara Hoffman, Spring 2009

Where Hoffman is most skilled, is swimwear design. She just gets it. Her designs are practical, different, modern. She makes an outfit out of a swimsuit, adding scarves, body chains, printed cover-ups, and turbans, convincing anyone it's okay to wear a swimsuit outside of the pool.

Above two, Mara Hoffman, Resort Swim 2010

Hoffman continues her career in 2010 stronger than ever. Her designs are now mature and say "this was made by Mara Hoffman". Her swimsuits and other pieces are available for sale on various websites such as and

The best discover I have made about Mara Hoffman is her blog, mara hoffman. Here are some images she has been inspired by; I think they really help explain what Mara Hoffman is all about.

No comments:

Post a Comment