We’ve been fans of Bibhu Mohapatra‘s collection since very early in his career. In fact, we did a few studio visits during his two year stint at CFDA‘s Fashion Incubator program. We’ve been privileged to watch his unique take on formal day & evening wear mature. His collections have always had an unmistakable aesthetic that made it clear that he had a voice that was unique & he wasn’t afraid to be heard. Some of his inventive plays on geometry & unusual color combinations remain indelibly etched in our mind all these years later.
After sitting through his Spring 2017 collection show, we were left with one question on our lips when the finale concluded: ”What happened?” What happened to the look, the edge, the point of view… the collection itself? This wasn’t a collection in any since of the word. What was shown for Spring 2017 in this show as an assortment. Perhaps a compilation. It was akin to a young socialite opening her closet & parading her clothes out one by one. Rarely did one piece lead to the next in any discernible fashion. In fact, there were times when the looks seemed as if they weren’t from the same vision or aesthetic at all. It was here, there & everywhere… to quote the Beatles.
Gone were the razor sharp signatures of Mr. Mohapatra & in was a little of this & a little of that, with some of something else thrown in to fill the space on the runway.
While each look certainly was lovely when viewed as a piece, any observer would be hard pressed to find a connection to the next look with few exceptions. We were confused.
The high points for certain came towards the end of the show when he entered the formal portion of the show, making it ever more evident that this is the genre of the market within which Mr. Mohapatra not only is most comfortable, but exceeds expectations. In fact, one Golden Champagne colored tulle tea length dress with tonal fern pattern embroideries all over the bodice truly was a stand out of not only this show, but a top look for us of all of Fashion Week. It is clear there is serious talent in the Bibhu Mohapatra studio. He evidenced this fact in all the looks he sent out. What was lacking was an editing eye, a merchandiser, to package the creation in a manner that impactfully represents the brand for the season. Call me… let’s talk…
-R. Scott French
Designer Website: www.bibhu.com
Photos: Elvia Gobbo