Cacti sitting at the back of the runway was enough of a clue that Mara Hoffman was going to take us out to the desert for her spring/summer 2015 line. Desert inspired themes are not especially new, in fact we see several collections born of such inspiration this fall. What Ms. Hoffman does with the theme, though, is totally unique, bright, refreshing, and brilliant in ways that are perfect for the warmest days of spring and summer.

Let’s be honest, finding something that gives one enough breathing room while still looking good on the hottest days of July and August is nearly impossible. Sure, one could  wear white all the time, but if you’re as clumsy as I am white simply isn’t practical. Mara comes to the rescue with a collection that is cool, breezy, and full of color done in just the right way.

Of course, she does start with some all-white looks; I suppose one has to when walking in the desert in the summer. Her whites are practical, though, very loose, flowing, and careful to not give perspiration a chance to pool on one’s body.

Prints in both primary colors and pastels radiate in this collection, usually in a rainbow design, and when not then gradient across the length of the garment. Both her ready-to-wear and her swimwear benefit from this approach. In fact, the first swimsuit to come down the runway, a one-piece with a bright glowing sun in the center, colorful rays up top, and a blue swirling ocean beneath, was nothing short of breath-taking.

A few consistent motifs floated through the collection. The first was ball caps with very long scarf-like ties in the back. Some were in solid colors, others had colorful bird silhouettes or rainbows. Either way, they are both attractive and practical. White fedoras came along later in the collection and give things a bit more formal look, but formal here simply means putting on fresh clothes for dinner. Rainbow patterns were consistent throughout the collection, typically radiating out from the center of the piece and filling the ensemble with color. What makes this interesting is that at no point were the colors overwhelming. Everything stayed quiet, peaceful, and relaxing.

Silhouettes here are necessarily loose and flowing. Tunic dresses, open backs, and cut outs at the waist are common touches. Pant legs flare at varying lengths but honestly when it is the middle of summer one is probably going to fare better with one of the looser fitting maxi dresses.

Mara Hoffman’s entire collection is the very essence of cool and is another one of those rare collections that doesn’t have an age limit attached to it. As she came out for her bow at the end of the show, Ms. Hoffman picked up her little boy who was dressed quite adorably in a white shirt and aguave print pants that matched his mother’s look. Adorable? Very. This is a fantastic collection for the hottest part of the summer. One would be crazy to leave it out of their wardrobe.

Photo credit: Frazer Harrison

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