Mara…Hoffman? The Mara Hoffman that brings us such delightful prints with shades of neon, bright and clashing color combos even in the dead of winter? What on earth is all this black? Don’t get us wrong we kind of love it, but still—we were a little surprised. On Saturday during New York Fashion Week, the designer showcased her Fall 2014 collection which was inspired by North Africa and gave us a grayscale palette of her otherwise iconic patterns. Maxi dresses, crop tops and flowing frocks that epitomize Hoffman’s shape came down the runway in very wearable styles that flirted with the line between summer and winter.
The opposite of her normal kaleidoscope of color, Hoffman acknowledges that there was a pretty big change for this collection. “It's the most black I've ever sent down the runway,” she told Style.com. “The sky needs a black backdrop for the stars to shine.” Well, when you put it that way, of course we can get behind the monochromatic motif. Pairing black pieces with vibrant metallic gave life to basics and turned simple dresses into perfect gowns. Using white as a backdrop on other pieces allowed pastels to pop, while designs that were entirely black and white were used to display the details of prints more prominently.
With such neutral shades, the line seems more sophisticated than previous collections, and a few of the dark flowing gowns looked more suited for red carpet events than days spent shopping on Melrose. Shape was loose, as per the norm, with excess material gathered around dresses and skirts to allow for flowing movement. In this collection there was noticeably more structure, with jackets and tops mimicking the North African prints.
While it wasn’t Hoffman’s usual brand of vibrant, in-your-face fashion, we still liked it, and were surprised by how well it carried her prints and eclectic style. We'll enjoy it as its own entity—like a capsule collection, that we can look back on fondly and talk about that one time Hoffman used black. Other than that, we’re kind of hoping by next season she’ll be back to those extreme colors that make us dream of exotic beaches and Piña Coladas.