Backstage at the Lincoln Center, designer Mara Hoffman emerges behind a black curtain in printed pajamas, rings like amulets and half a sleeve of henna crawling up each long arm. “I got them two days ago,” she says, holding up her hands to show a sienna brown tat made up of zigzags, teardrops and dots. They mirror the sequin-ry on some clothes hanging on a rack behind her. She explains that she had someone come over to ink them in her house. “I said, I think I just need to sort of embrace this a little and get into the mood.”
An hour before her show, the print-tastic womenswear designer talked to The Observer about her bedouin-inspired collection.
New York Observer: Your collection is inspired by Africa.
Mara Hoffman: Northern Africa.
NYO: Have you been there?
MH: I have not. It’s somewhere i would love to go. I found inspiration in Moroccan rugs and tiles and Egyptian references… Camels and pyramids. Just different ways to tweak them and put them through the Mara Hoffman filter.
NYO: What’s the Mara Hoffman filter?
MH: I think it’s finding inspiration from different parts of the world and retranslating them. They all go through some sort of a weirdo tweaking, to become me. (Laughs)
NYO: So what can we expect this season apart from your signature prints? Is “the eye” going to be there somewhere?
MH: There’s one reference to the eye in a beaded shawl, in the last look. There’s a lot more black, which is new for us. We’re incorporating a lot of textures: sequins, braiding and fringe work. There’s also a lot of length this season. Some layers. And a lot of pants under dresses.