BIBHU MOHAPATRA NYFW SS2021 photo IMAXTree

As the 20th century rolled in, India witnessed many changes in its artistic activities. The Bengal school of art produced many artists of repute, some artists in the quest for a change, distanced themselves from the Bengal School. Amrita Shergil is one such change-maker who revolutionized and challenged the Indian art scene, albeit way ahead of her times. With her bold and daring approach towards her life and her artistic milieu she charted the path for the future genrations of artists who pledged to continue her legacy of change and challenged the norm.

Bibhu Mohapatra Spring 2021 Collection is inspired by the works and life of Amrita Sher-Gil and her fundamentally Indian spirit.  

 
“When I think about my work, it always goes back to to this idea of craft.
Crafts that are ancient or dying or actively being reinvented…those crafts speak to me.”

While designer Bibhu Mohapatra moved to the U.S. in 1996, his years growing up on the east coast of India in Odisha, formed the expanding spirit of everything he sees and creates. His mother Sashikala, instilled in him at an early age a near obsession with handwork and textiles as well as a deep appreciation for making clothes that function and symbolize something powerful. “My memories of my mother and her teaching me to sew are always very much a part of my design process,” he says. “And I’m always instilling those early skills, influences and experiences into various aspects of my collections.”

As the longtime design director for J.Mendel (before that he spent a year designing at Halston), Bibhu spent a decade honing his knack for strong tailoring balanced with wearable, expressive design. “In fashion, it’s important for me to always be aware of that continuous interplay between elements and attitudes, and how those elements spark something functional and new.” In 2008, after years working in other houses, Bibhu rented what he called “a thinking box” on 73rd and Broadway. He painted the walls white, filled the shelves with old and new books on painting, history, architecture, and fashion, while using an ancient gold-gilded mirror he found in upstate New York as the centerpiece of his new studio. There, in the thinking box, he began to lay the foundation for not just the clothes he wanted to make but the deeper principles and values that could drive a bigger vision for what a fashion and design company could become.

Thanks to a private order for just three coats, he secured the essential seed money to launch his eponymous label. And, after just a few years, his signature dresses and sharply cut jackets became collector’s pieces, drawing the attention and support of such powerhouses as Lupita Nyong’o, Gwyneth Paltrow, and former First Lady Michelle Obama, who chose to wear a Bibhu original for her first visit to India. While Bibhu has garnered awards and recognition from Ecco Domani, the National Arts Club, and the CFDA, he is resolute about his mission for making beautiful things. “I don’t just want to dress a woman for a one-time affair,” says Bibhu. “To me, it’s important that my designs give women a deep sense of self-assurance, reminding them of who they are. That no matter what they do or where they go, they can feel confident, strong, and beautiful on their terms.” 

 


 

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