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Looking Ahead to Spring Fashion with Lingua Franca Founder and Designer Rachelle Hruska MacPherson

By Nina RuggieroApr 18 2022

Rachelle Hruska MacPherson’s statement-making cashmere brand, Lingua Franca, is known for its embroidered phrases that pack a punch, be it with light-hearted positivity (“think happy,” “here comes the sun,” “let it be”) or no-nonsense commentary on current events.

“I love the concept of ‘Lingua Franca,’ which literally translates to a ‘common language,’” she said. “And blending words into textiles has been our thing from the start.”

Hruska MacPherson launched the brand for a reason that is certainly common language for many of us these days: She was attempting to cope with anxiety. “My therapist suggested I try something with my hands,” she said. “That weekend, I picked up an old cashmere sweater and embroidered ‘booyah’ on it and posted it on [Instagram].”

It’s exactly this type of easy exuberance that fashion — particularly spring fashion — can add to our lives. After a long winter spent hidden under the same black puffer coat, beanie, and boots, shedding the heavy layers and having fun with personal style feels like a true breath of fresh air.

Hruska MacPherson said the trend she’s looking most forward to embracing in the coming months is “color” — and wearing Lingua Franca’s bright rose jacquard-print short sleeve cashmere sweater/skirt sets. “They come in poppy and mustard and feel fresh,” she said. The brand’s collections for women, men, and kids are all understated — focusing on quality materials and classic silhouettes — yet bursting with color in small ways that speak volumes. (Read “It’s OK to feel blue” embroidered in rainbow lettering and just try not to crack a smile.)

The spring collection, “Nebraskaland,” brings just the right amount of retro for this season, transporting the wearer back to sweeter, simpler times in America’s Great Plains region, where Hruska MacPherson grew up. “Spring was an homage to my home, and I love every piece because each one has a hidden special personal story (mostly to my grandmother) embedded in it,” she said. Photos of the collection were even shot at her late grandmother Rita’s home in a town called Ceresco, Nebraska. Fitting, as it was Rita who taught her to stitch years ago.

Crewnecks and cardigans embellished with hand-crocheted flowers (you can mix and match the blooms) are playful additions to a spring wardrobe and pair perfectly with the brand’s on-trend silk cashmere midi skirts and tanks, each of which come in five colors including bold poppy and delicate lilac. Together, they make an ideal combination of layers as we slowly but surely make the shift toward warmer days.

As for her own secret to seamlessly transitioning from winter to spring, Hruska MacPherson advises “[carrying] an oversized cashmere sweater with you wherever you go. It’s perfect to throw on and off any outfit.” One more necessity to always have on hand? “An extra Band-Aid. Your feet have been used to wearing socks all winter.”

And when it comes to a figurative Band-Aid to get us through those inevitably dreary spring days in between, Hruska MacPherson reminds us that adding a touch of embroidery can be just what the doctor ordered.

“Why not add a fun little slogan somewhere?” she said. “I love our new ‘Don’t worry be happening’ tees, dropping this spring. They are fun and make people do a double-take.”

Other pieces guaranteed to steal a smile from passersby include the tongue-in-cheek “health nut” sweater, embroidered beside a hot dog and french fries in honor of a beloved Betty White quote, and “Zoom University” crewnecks for the pandemic-era college crowd; a turtleneck with “jeepers” in bold letters; and a short sleeve that comes with either “jeez Louise” or “holy moly” strewn across it. Some even lean on happy symbolism, embroidered with pictures of sunshine and waves, lobsters, honey bees, or cherries.

If you don’t see a phrase that speaks to you, almost everything on the site is completely customizable, from button-down shirts and sweaters to socks, scarves, beanies, dog sweaters, and travel sets with 100% cashmere eye masks. All of this is sending us one message loud and clear: The greatest spring trend of all is expressing yourself — and fashion that does that for you (while making your world even a little bit brighter in the process) is a win-win.

Lingua Franca currently has a truck on Rockefeller Center campus, where they serve coffee and the latest from the line. It’s open seven days a week, 6:30am to 5:30pm at 50 Rockefeller Plaza.

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