It was in 2009 when former J.Mendel Creative Director Bibhu Mohapatra decided it was time to launch his eponymous label. Since then, he has dressed some of the most elegant women on the A-list including Viola Davis, Gweneth Paltrow, Lupita Nyong’o and of course, the former First Lady Michelle Obama.
The Bibhu Mohapatra brand is known for uniting ancient craft with seamless tailoring. Bibhu shares, “When I think about my work, it always goes back to this idea of craft. Crafts that are ancient or dying or actively being reinvented.” He does this once again despite a rather icy fashion climate in 2020, with the premiere of the Spring/ Summer 2021 collection at New York Fashion Week and the first ever International Digital Fashion Week.
The collection’s muse, Amrita Sher-Gil, is an Indian art pioneer and revolutionary who challenged the status quo. She paved the road for future female artists to make their voices heard despite a political and social environment largely dominated by men. Instead of the traditional runway show, Bibhu worked closely with New York-based filmmaker Shruti Ganguly and lensman JD Urban to create a captivating film celebrating the life and times of Amrita. Bibhu’s team enlisted Hamilton Alum Ariana DeBose and Reema Sampat to star in the film.
Pieces featured in this digital presentation are faithful to the Bibhu aesthetic—architectural and sculptural yet infused with celebratory movement and sense of timelessness. The 26-piece collection highlighted an uncompromising mindset for perfecting details.
Guipure lace, tulle, Chantilly lace and silks were customized just for this collection, creating sense of contrast against details like Supima cotton and embroidered denims. In true form, vibrant color ways of lime, pink, blue and chartreuse played a key role in setting the optimistic mood for the collection. Striking silhouettes through outsized shoulders and unexpected finishes reflected a brand of idealism, ready to explore and embrace a departure from the conventional.
Bibhu expounds: “I wanted to see change and make change an inspiring process. I wanted to collaborate with artists of different genres to articulate my craft. So often, it is the work of artists confirming the darkness and obstacles in our world that ultimately help us make sense of our place within in. This moment in history—if we are listening and looking deeply with our whole selves—has the power to permanently shift our perceptions…Because standing still is no longer an option.”
Luxury fashion and design are two things that I am most passionate about. After being a features editor for a top fashion magazine in Manila called Mega Magazine, I moved to Paris to take up my MBA specializing in Luxury Goods and Fashion Industries. After two years of intensive study and a lot of fine wine in Paris, I returned to Manila to put up my own luxury online store. I’ve also been writing for the Philippines’ top lifestyle magazine, Lifestyle Asia, a publication that aims to define the authentic experience of fine living.
What happens when Glam stops by Bibhu Mohapatra’s studio, with his favorite fast food in hand? From discussions about the First Lady to his architectural passions, we’re taking you directly into his design space, for secrets from where his breathtaking pieces are created, complete with everyone’s guilty pleasure – french fries.
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