Inside Mara Hoffman's Fall 2013 Show
To give you an idea of the time, energy and coordination that goes into a show, we take you behind the scenes and profile Mara Hoffman, a designer at this season's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.
Known for pieces with bohemian flair and tribal prints, Hoffman has been designing her own label since 2000 and was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America in 2011.
We sat down with Hoffman to hear more about the steps she takes to create a collection and went backstage at Lincoln Center to see her nearly half-a-year-long project come to fruition.
It starts with a print. Stateside, Hoffman begins the designing process at the end of September right after her team finishes the spring 2013 line.
She designs the print in house and then sends the design to Asia for workers to make it there using their materials.
She usually looks to China or Korea due to the countries' "printing ability, good printing facilities and good pricing."
Priced Out of Silk
Few pieces in the collection use silk because the material's price has risen so much in recent years.
"Using silk has become so expensive that we've switched to different alternatives such as polys and rayons that can take the prints really well," she continued.
At Hoffman's studio in New York City's Garment District, shown here, workers prepare for the impending presentation days before Saturday's show.
Embellishments From IndiaFor the embellished pieces, Hoffman first develops the technique, whether it's a different embroidery stich or beading work, then later sends it off to workers in India. They then return a small piece of what the embellishment will look like.
Once the sample is approved, Hoffman gives India specs for a full garment.
She opted to outsource some of this more intricate work "because they do great embellishment work like hand beading and embroidery" in the country.
Steps Until Production
After sketching and designing the shapes of the garments, Hoffman then submits them to a pattern maker, who creates a flat pattern of the design. They will then cut the first sample in an old fabric from a past season to get the fit sample.
Fit models then try on the sample. Hoffman and her team then make any adjustments after seeing how it looks on the fit model. The pattern is then corrected and new samples are made if needed and tried on again.
Fit models are typically about 5'8" to 5'9" and weigh more than runway models, one of whom is shown here during the final fitting.
"One of them is closer to an average person so you can fit and the other one is really more for runway purposes so they're a lot taller and skinnier," she added.
Hiring the Stylist
Once the collection nears completion, Hoffman will hire an outside stylist and find a shoe company and jewelry designer to work with about three weeks before the show.
For this season's show, Miista donated the shoes, which Hoffman said she will either give to the models or keep for her archives.
Pamela Love NYC lent the jewelry.
Casting the Show
Roughly a week before the show, Hoffman will meet with a casting agent to choose the runway models.
For this show, she will need about 17 girls to model 30 looks.
"We look for particular girls that suit the aesthetic that we are going for in the show or body type that I know will fit the samples right," she said.
(Click Here for Full Slideshow "Behind Closed Doors: Inside Fashion Week Fall 2013")
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