Invade Mara Hoffman's Showroom With Athena Calderone

Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
Mara Hoffman and I have known one another for about two years, yet somehow it feels like a lifetime of friendship — sisterhood, even. It’s a connectedness you can’t really put your finger on, but it is abundantly clear that meeting and being in each other’s worlds was kismet. Every time we are together there is a clear and mutual adoration, inspiration, curiosity, and creative sharing that runs deep — we giggle, we spill our feelings, we talk the talk that only lifelong friends do. It’s personal and intimate, playful, and beautiful.
Mara is a woman who simply blows my mind — her deeply mystical and present nature is rivaled only by her unabashed, pure talent. Mara the brand is truly Mara. Everything she creates is an extension of herself and her energy. Through her designs, she exudes core passions that are fundamental to her own life. Color and pattern, travel and nature, spirituality and discovery — these are clearly everything. They drive the vision and inspire Mara, and we luckily get to experience that inspiration through her stunning collections.
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Recently, I spent the afternoon in her showroom being adorned in all things Mara Hoffman — even being photographed by her in her ongoing floor series. Mara’s designs are meant to empower women, making them feel alive and vibrant. That’s a lot of power in one lovely lady’s hands. She carries that energy with an abundance of grace, expanding her world into ready-to-wear and swimwear, as well as bridal and most recently — after becoming a mom herself — a kids collection. Children inspire and change our lives like nothing else, and often become the launching pad to a new chapter of love and creativity in our lives.
For looking to love and the organic to create a colorful, fearless celebration of life, for womanhood, connectedness, and friendship, I thank you, Mara!
It's a fact: Athena Calderone is a curator of all things gorgeous. Her breathtaking home decor, delicious recipes, and eye for style inspired her to create EyeSwoon, a hub for home and food inspiration. Now, It Girl Calderone will be taking us to New York's need-to-know spots and introducing us to the coolest people around.
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
Classic NYC restaurant that makes you swoon?
"I've always loved Balthazar."

Favorite go-to local spots?
"Narnia, Beautiful Dreamers, and Desnuda."

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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
Music currently in rotation?
"Lots of Bob Dylan and reggae jams."
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
On being a mom
"As a designer, it's a whole other world creating for a true free spirit. Kids don't try, they just are. It should be an inspiration to all of us. As a human, once you have a kid you will forever belong to someone else. You may think you've felt that before but there is nothing that compares."
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
The 5 things you'd be lost without?
"My kids, my husband, my sense of humor, my job, my sight."
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
Something people would be shocked to learn?
"I've never worked for another clothing company — only my own!"
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
On staying centered
"Creating balance takes practice. It's work and it's not always easy. Realizing when you are unbalanced and doing something about it is the most important thing. No one can be balanced 100% of the time thought."
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
The start
"The brand started with me hand batiking pieces in my kitchen and has gone through so many reincarnations to become what it is now."

At the core
"Perseverance, honesty, vulnerability."
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
"The brand began even before I understood the journey I was on. I was 22 years old and experienced good luck and being a part of the right moments, and the journey has continued since then."
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
"Our collections generally begin with our inspiration, which is usually geographic, and then we develop our prints from there. Our prints are the narrative for the collection and take the most time to develop, so we always start there."
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
"For swim we do really well with our V-wire and underwire cami bikinis. For ready-to-wear, our fitted minis and column dresses in bright prints are always great!"
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
What's your "pinch me" moment?
"It's been a series of pinch me moments. It's all a dream, isn't it?"
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
Inspiration?
"The world! Textiles, indigenous people, folk art, tribes, and COLOR."
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
Life motto
"Be light."
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Photo: Chloe Crespi/Courtesy of EyeSwoon.
For more of Athena Calderone's swoon-worthy recipes, home decor ideas, and fashionable friendships, follow her on Instagram!
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