September 23, 2021
Returning to the spotlight over one year following the start of the worldwide Pandemic, Mila Hoffman amazed crowds with her newest designs debuting at this year's New York Fashion Week. The runway featured innovative couture pieces from SS22 "Color Burst" and "The Dramatic" collections.
Mila faced many obstacles throughout her preparation for her latest show. She overcame fabric inventory and supply shortages caused by suppliers who shut down throughout the ongoing Pandemic. Mila worked hard to bring her vision to life by working with vendors worldwide and adjusting to the increase in prices for her supplies.
"I had to get even more creative to make these collections happen," she said. "I found myself getting in tune with my design skills and even hand-dying fabric and lace to match my color profiles.”
In addition to supply issues, Mila said she had numerous models cancel at the last minute, forcing some of her looks not to make it down the runway.
“This is a new world, and nothing is certain now,” she said. “Things change every day, for better or worse, but we adapt and make the best of it in the end.”
Mila tested the skills she developed during the uncertainty she faced amidst the Pandemic to produce her collections. She decided to quarantine in her home after exposure to someone with a positive COVID-19.
“Any designer in my shoes would have done the same. It was truly heartbreaking not to attend my show in person,” she said.
Mila managed the show from Dallas by phone with the help of her talented team in New York. HiTechModa production company, a collection of artists, and her dedicated staff worked together to bring the show to life.
“I wanted to be there to share my words of encouragement, and congratulations for a show well done!” she said. “From the bottom of my heart, I am thankful to my models, their parents, and my wonderful staff. It means the world to me to have everyone’s support as well as trust in my skills and believing in my work.”
Mila recalls the inspiration for the "Color Burst" collection developed when she accidentally dropped a bag of Skittles on the floor. She observed the fruit-flavored rainbow-colored candy sprinkle over the floor and land perfectly out of sync.
"My mind immediately began to soak up all of the colors," she said. "My creativity sparked, and I thought to myself, "Oh, that's so beautiful!"
"Color Burst" included gowns featuring an array of bold and bright colors such as oranges, reds, yellows, and pinks. Then to balance the collection, she added soft-colored designs of whites, light blues, and purples. The blending of the different shades provided a burst of color down the runway.
During the fabric and materials selection process, Mila gravitated towards soft silks, rich satin, airy tulle, and delicate lace. She added the intricate embellishments, embroidery, and beadwork by hand.
As a nod to her February 2019 fashion show "Birds are Flowers," she offered the models an opportunity to polish off the look of their unique gowns with butterfly wings.
Mila chose the stunning opening look for its magical resemblance of a Phoenix butterfly complete with magnificent shimmery wings and the bold orange gown embellished with sequin flowers and leaves. The collection closed with a vibrant yellow bridal silk gown. The bottom of the skirt and bodice featured carefully placed embroidery. Many looks of this collection had butterfly accents either on the gowns or accessories.
"I tend to add a hint of nature to my runway shows. It expresses happiness as well as a fun and light feel," she said. "I wanted the audience to experience happiness throughout the entire collection."
Mila said the talented team at the New York Make Up Academy was instrumental in bringing her "mood boards" to life with trendy hairstyles and bright, colorful eyeshadow palettes.
Mila’s second collection of SS22 featured an opposite inspiration than the first. She incorporated her interpretation of designer Alexander McQueen's black and red gown from the VOSS collection for SS2001 and Miori Odamaki's art piece, "The Life Cycle," to develop "The Dramatic" collection. Mila incorporated her inspiration into this collection by showcasing tints of bright red and deep burgundy complemented by black and white with pops of gray. The fabric selection consisted of smooth silk, glossy satin, and tulle.
“I love working with materials that flow or make lots of movement,” she said. “I wanted it to appear like the gown could walk on air.”
Several couture designs featured exquisitely detailed accents, including crystals and beads that were hand-sewn. Mila Hoffman is well-known for her attention to detail and the extra effort to set her work apart within the competitive fashion industry.
“To be competitive, I must try to be different,” she said. “The competition definitely keeps me on my toes.”
Once again, the skilled team at the New York Make Up Academy brought together hair and makeup to complete the looks in “The Dramatic” collection. The runway looks featured a dark makeup palette complete with a smokey eye and heavy eyeliner, while hairstyles highlighted long curly waves.
“I also decided to try something new by adding perfectly placed temporary tattoos on my models for this collection,” she said. “Under the stage lights, the tattoos looked real and theatrical. I still can't get over how many people asked me how I was able to cast young models with tattoos.”
“I gave away my secret after the fact,” she said. “It was a very bold moment and an artsy representation of life. I saw this as my opportunity once again to set myself apart from the rest.”
Both SS22 collections featured monumental accent angel and butterfly wings, which Mila used to connect with life. She designed angel wings using cruelty-free feathers and hand-selecting each feather to apply to each unique pair of angel wings.
Mila reflects that she is careful to make sure the fabric colors work together in each collection while every piece on the runway has accenting hair, makeup, and accessories. The goal was to create a fashion line that could hold its own and display itself as a breathtaking moment in real-time.
“I hope that the audience had an opportunity to take something away from this show,” she said. “Life can be as fragile as a butterfly's wing, paper-thin yet fierce and thick as blood which flows in our veins.”
Written by Maribel Ayala
Photographers: Phil Roccuzzo, Jesus Antonio Landa and Warren Anderson