Photos by Amanda Coen for EcouterreMara Hoffman is known for her bohemian flair, so the presence of a live mariachi band at her Spring/Summer 2012 show wasn't the least incongruous. Presented at the Box at Lincoln Center during New York Fashion Week, Hoffman's self-described "Mexican Mamas" featured a bevy of designs inspired by the women of Mexico, particularly legendary painter Frida Kahlo. Using custom-designed silk prints manufactured in-house in the United States, Hoffman interlaced woodcut, tribal, woven, and geometric designs with neon embroidery and seed-beading to create a sultry, tropical-infused lineup of jumpsuits (long and short), sheer skirts, caftans, and tea-length column dresses.
To construct the dramatic braided pompadours, Hoffman worked with Tigi hairstylist Nick Irwin to weave her fabrics into synthetic hair. Corresponding prints found their way into the models’ espadrilles, as well as eye-popping rope necklaces and dangling earrings by Holst+Lee. “We love playing with color and texture and believe the pieces each have a story to themselves,” Natalie Holst, who founded the Brooklyn-based label with partner Rochelle Lee, tells Ecouterre. Refreshingly prismatic, Hoffman’s “Mexican Mamas” is a testament to female tenacity and creative verve.