After several seasons of static presentations and a lot of hard work in the
off-seasons refining the vocabulary of his brand, Bibhu Mohapatra had earned
the right to show on a catwalk, which he did for the first time this
afternoon. The moment offered the opportunity to judge whether Mohapatra,
long tipped as an up-and-comer, was finally ready to join the front rank of
emerging young designers.
What Mohapatra has in spades is a real sense of luxury. His looks for both night and day are executed in rich materials and beautifully finished. It's clear that the designer has thought every detail through; sometimes you feel he's overthinking, actually. Today, as usual, there were a few garments that begged for a bit more simplicity, like a gown with a chainlike embroidery, ombré fade, peacock feathers, and plissé skirt. Still, you have to respect Mohapatra's ambition: His understanding of luxury is that it demands a sense of drama. His daywear benefits from that allergy to the mundane; some of the best pieces today were the show-opening ivory knit tops, with their sculpted construction and basket-weave detail. And Mohapatra also turned out a variety of fun colored furs. This section had an appealing looseness that, more broadly applied, could accelerate the breakthrough the designer's working toward. He seemed to have enjoyed making his cherry red and hunter green popcorn fur coats, and women are going to enjoy wearing them.