Last week Chicago was treated to a personal appearance by designer Bibhu Mohapatra who presented his Fall 2012 collection. This show was part of W Hotels Worldwide Fashion Next Fall 2012, a global showcase for rising fashion visionaries. Guest enjoyed cocktails and a fantastic fashion presentation at W Chicago – Citycenter.
Bibhu is considered one of these rising fashion stars, relatively new on the scene. He moved to New York City with a Master’s degree in economics and enrolled in the Fashion Institute of Technology. While at FIT he was an assistant designer for Halston, and went on to work for J. Mendel under Gilles Mendel. His label launched with his first collection during New York Fashion Week in February 2009. In 2010, Bibhu was a finalist for Women’s Apparel 2010 Rising Star Award by The Fashion Group International. He received the “Young Innovator Award” from the National Arts Club and he became a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. In 2011 Bibhu Mohapatra received the coveted Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award.
Bibhu’s love of sumptuous Indian fabrics, vibrant colors and the crafts of his native land have been the inspiration behind his elegant designs. He became known for his glamorous gowns and work with magnificent furs. The Bibhu Mohapatra collection is currently sold at select boutiques and at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus.
I had the opportunity to go backstage while Bibhu calmly, yet energetically prepared the models for his presentation at W Chicago City Center. I probably could have touched the pieces, but was afraid because they were so beautiful, so I simply stared at them like I was viewing artwork. The models looked very comfortable in the pieces, as they moved about the Great Room at W, running and bending to help one another with zippers and hems, effortlessly. That says a lot for the construction of his pieces.
I only had a few minutes to talk to Bibhu, who was busy with the models, yet politely apologized – to me! – when he had to help a model or answer questions. (Wasn’t this his show?) He is a sweet guy and I could see firsthand he has the ability to handle the business side of fashion as well as the artistry.
SCS: First of all, can I say that I love that dress! I want it. (I point to the white sheath with what I call a red lightning bolt down the side).
Bibhu: Thank you! (He smiled appreciatively)
SCS: I usually think of beautiful fabrics and gowns with your collection. Some of these pieces are really quite modern.
Bibhu: Well I love architecture and I need to continue to evolve. I don’t want to be only known for dresses with beautiful fabrics.
SCS: You worked with some of the best (Halston and J. Mendel). How did that help you to start your own collection?
Bibhu: Yes, I learned a lot from my mentors. At the time I always was developing my own line. It is great to be able to see something that is 100% of my own language.
Bibhu showed me the detail on some of the gowns, some were hand-sprayed at the hem to give a variegated effect. He showed me back of a green sequin gown and how he used a cut-in shape to flatter and fall beautifully. I stood there in awe. I loved the combination of the edginess and the beauty of the pieces in his collection. Many can work for women of all ages, but they are not for the timid. They all make a statement.
Bibhu: I like to use unexpected materials, and the way geometry plays in my designs. I like to surprise!
SCS: What is the best advice anyone ever gave you?
Bibhu: To believe in yourself. Believe in yourself and fight for yourself.
– Carol Calacci
Photos: Second City StyleSee the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40
Tags: 2010 Young Innovator Award, 2011 Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award, Bibhu Mohapatra, Bibhu Mohapatra Fall 2012 RTW, Bibhu Mohapatra Interview, Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award, Fashion Next Fall 2012, FGI 2010 Rising Star Award, Gilles Mendel, Halston, J.Mendel, W Chicago Citycenter, W Hotels Intermational