Miami Swim Week: Mara Hoffman On Her New Line, How To Look Better in a Swim Suit, More

Sidney Jensen

Known for consistently delivering a vibrant assortment of colors and prints, swimwear designer Mara Hoffman didn’t miss a beat when it came to crafting her striking Indian-influenced Resort ‘14 collection. Shown to a packed house of sun-kissed editors and buyers during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim in Miami, the boho-hip designer—she was wearing a mirror-adorned bustier of her own design and Middle Eastern-sourced camel decorations on her arm— sent down signature psychedelic patterns and look-at-me bandeaus heavily enriched in South Asian vibes.

Other highlights included an underwire bustier top and lattice high-waisted bottom in bright violet, a macramé one-piece in a fantastic neon coral, and, of course, the hard-to-miss evil eyes painted onto each of the models’ foreheads (which obviously had everyone oohing and Instagramming.)

We snagged a few minutes Hoffman’s time pre-show in Miami, and got the scoop on her new collection, a few trusted swimwear tips, and her favorite pop culture swimsuit moment. Read on for more!

StyleCaster: What was your inspiration for this year’s collection, and how did that translate into your creative process this season?
Mara Hoffman: My team and I come up with a theme for the collection and used that as a jumping off point to start conceptualizing prints. Because we design all of the prints in-house, they’re a constant conversation and evolution. Resort ‘14 was inspired by mythology from India  …  from a psychic mental trip.

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Tell us about the camel accessories that you and models are wearing.
We were approached by this really cool website that brings accessories from around the world—like an online bazaar—called L-atitude. We collaborated [with them] on hair accessories for the show. For the jewelry pieces, we took traditional Indian and Rajasthan beads and our own threads, but the hairpieces came from actual camel decorations.

Can you talk us through the prints and colors of the line? What stood out to you?
There’s a Ganesh print, which is [based on] the rumor of obstacles, and there’s a print called Shakti, which means sacred forest, but they all are Mara Hoffman interpretations of beautiful Indian mythology. [Pattern-wise] if there’s not, like, 800 colors, then we’ve done something wrong.

If next season’s shopper were only picking up one piece from the line, which style would you recommend she try?
The laser-cut high-waisted two-piece with a bandeau top! Laser cut is a new technique for us, and it’s something [we’re doing] to kind of pull up our aesthetic while using more solids. I love that suit and I think it’s going to do really well. But I would suggest the shopper buy something she’ll get the most wear out of in a shape she’s comfortable in and a print she can’t live without! I personally am a rainbow kinda gal so I’m all for more color!

What about just being more confident in a bathing suit? Any tips for feeling better — or even posing better — in swimwear?
I think posture is hugely important. I grew up as a dancer and a yogi, so I was instilled with the understanding that the way you carry yourself is how you’re seen by the world. Carry yourself with confidence, a straight spine, an open heart, and exude light. For our swim photo shoots, I tell the model to stick her behind out and arch her back a bit if we are shooting them straight on, so there is a bit of a space between her legs.

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Let’s talk about your all-time favorite swimsuit pop culture moment. Spill it!
One of my proudest moments was meeting the performance artist Marina Abramović at the CFDA awards. She complimented me on the dress I was wearing from our fall collection and it was such an honor. She’s cool!

Lastly, what’s one go-to swim accessory every girl should have in her closet right now?
Every beach-goer needs a good bag. We did a vinyl bag and it’s waterproof so you can throw a wet suit into it and drag it onto the beach. [You need a bag] that can be rough and not too fragile.