FASHION WEEK: Bibhu Mohapatra Inspired By Florence Welch, Worn By Michelle Obama
Indian-born Bibhu Mohapatra, who cites Florence Welch as his muse this season, inspired his Spring 2013 collection in the luna moth, whose transformative symbolism the designer felt represented best the evolution of the Bibhu woman. Vibrant colors and geometric cut-out prints adorned slim-fit, structured dresses, fit for daywear but maintaining the dramatic flair for which the designer is known. Somewhere between fantasy and couture, Mohapatra's garments hatch from their cocoons gracefully.
Mohaptra began designing at an early age for his sister, captivated by the vibrant and sumptuous fabrics of his native home. After studying at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, for which he won the prestigious Critic's Award for Best Evening Wear Designer, Mohapatra honed his design skills at fashion labels Halston and J. Mendel. Launching his first collection during Fashion Week in 2009, Mohapatra turned to custom couture evening gowns, cocktail dresses and furs — and solidified his presence in the industry by joining the Council of Fashion Designers of America as a member in 2010 and receiving the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award in 2011.
Albeit from humble origins, the ever modest Mohapatra himself acknowledged how far he'd come when First Lady Michelle Obama wore his design, a summery semi-sheer yellow dress with a printed overlay, on the Jay Leno show. "She is super real. She has a trained eye and knows what exactly looks good on her. I knew she would be taking my dress on her trip to the Olympics. Before she appeared on the Jay Leno show, I got a call from her staff at the White House saying: 'Watch out for the show. You'll be happy.' That was the longest 10 hours I had spent before I could watch the show at night," Mohapatra told Times of India. "I've already dressed quite a few celebs but there is something different about Michelle Obama. Her reach is huge. Even her staff understands what her support means to me and my fellow designers. I haven't met her as yet but I've heard that she has said that she feels cute in my dress."
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