June 04, 2013 New York
It was a subtle thing, but there was one detail in Bibhu Mohapatra's new collection that spoke volumes about his development as a designer. That detail was a flutter—a soft ruffle of chiffon that served as the shoulder of his crisp silk shirtdress, and it reappeared as the adornment of a keyhole-collar blouse. It has taken a while, but Mohapatra has finally learned to be judicious with his flourishes. This collection was marked by that discipline: He limited himself to one decorative idea—a flock-like pattern inspired the look of a part of India colonized by the French—and he kept his shapes simple, too, emphasizing structured sheaths. There was also a nice sense of communication between Mohapatra's evening looks and his clothes for day. If he overdid anything here, it was his focus; after a while, his repetition of the flock became a bit tiresome, especially in an embroidered leather iteration that just didn't work. The cleaner looks, like that shirtdress, came off as a balm. Still, this collection had a lot of appeal and showed Mohapatra moving in the right direction.
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