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story by Seth Friedermann
photos by Adrianna Favero
web editor Rachel Reneé
The leap from presentation to runway can be tricky for emerging designers. Those required extra few looks can be a surprising trap that catches many less experienced designers unaware. Bibhu Mohapatra may be considered by many to an emerging designer, but in terms of runway shows, as we say in New York City, not so much. In his nine years as design director for other labels, he presided over 18 runway shows and 36 presentations. So it came as no surprise that the collection was a precise representation of what Mr. Mohapatra envisioned.
The collection was full of examples of this talented designer’s couture-level techniques. There was an intensely interesting theme of slices, divisions, broken spaces, and segmentation, both angled and straight. Mr Mohapatra’s calling card of revelation was again present as the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Studio crowd was treated to his deft treatment of multiple layers, often consisting of different colored fabrics, and at times different materials all together. The choices that Mr. Mohapatra made with the types of clothes he chose to make showed a solid understanding of the needs of his client. The collection opened with a selection of day wear. Jackets, day dresses, and separates displayed the designer’s practiced hand at creating subtle sections of shape that did not overpower the clothes but still created a definitively different look. Collars, cuffs, and some really interesting bell sleeves defined outfits that were fresh and attractive.
Some particular bright spots were a beige, crepe, and ivory-striped wool top where the wool was lightly napped and used to create a greater impression in the bell sleeve shape. Adding volume while retaining shape can be tricky and Mr. Mohapatra pulled it off repeatedly. A shimmering red and white print was lovely and added a feel of romance which fit with the inspiration of the Chinese opera, “The White Haired Girl.”
The show’s closing numbers were all red carpet worthy gowns and of those the one that drew an audible sound of joy from the audience was an ivory to vermilion-stained floor length stunner with lace details that were infinitely interesting. A special mention must be made of Mr. Mohapatra’s ability with pants. Long, slender, and shapely they were a stealth highlight. Just as Mr. Mohapatra easily avoided the “first runway” trap it can be reasonably assumed that in the future he will just as handily side step many of the other pits that designers fall pray to. He’s already been at this for a little bit more than a New York minute after all.