Bohemian, colorful and confident, Mara Hoffman is the living embodiment of her eponymous brand.
The Brooklyn-based designer is known for her bold, tribal-inspired prints in creating looks that have a proverbial global patina to them. There’s a strong ethnic feel to the textiles she designs for her clothes — fueled by what she’s seen on trips to Mexico, Spain, and beyond — but they still make perfect sense as city wear or in a resort community like the Hamptons, Palm Springs or Palm Beach.
Nonetheless, Hoffman’s collection has a versatile appeal. “There’s a pretty wide variety of women who wear it,” she says. ”There’s such a range, from that girl who’s going to wear it in a way that’s a little bit more conservative…to a total cosmic hippie who gets it on that level and is wearing the full deal. Girls are wearing the dresses with stilettos to flats to barefoot.”
The strength of those prints has helped make Hoffman’s swim line, which includes swim suits as well as kaftans and other cover-ups, as successful as her main collection, which is a bit more structured and city-friendly. “I think they appeal to the same person,” she says of the two distinct lines. ”The only difference is that people come to the ready to wear for a bit more construction, and more dinner-in-the-city dresses, where the swim line can cover dinner anywhere outside of the city. Most girls aren’t going to wear long modal maxi-dresses to dinner in New York, but they would once they travel or go to the Hamptons.”
For her current ready-to-wear collection, one of Hoffman’s key inspirations was artist Frida Kahlo. “She was somebody that could bring light from darkness on a deeper level,” she explains. “She was such an intense artist but a magician too and I’m very much into that, plus it’s set in Mexico which is such an easy jumping off place to pull references from.”
Next up for Hoffman, a Parsons School of Design graduate who also studied at London’s prestigious Central St. Martins School of Arts and Design, is an additional collection with another potent inspiration: a children’s line, with her favorite muse: her toddler son Joaquin.