NYFW: BIBHU MOHAPATRA

I will never look at another stop sign quite the same way ever again.

Fashion is all about shape, but I’ve never given the octagon as much thought as Bibhu Mohapatra obviously did in creating this stunning spring/summer 2015 collection. Sometimes they octagons are small, almost like lattice work. Other times they are larger, carefully avoiding masquerading as polka dots, but at no time are they red because there’s just no stopping this collection. Bibhu has used strong graphics in his designs before, to be sure, but none so effectively, and with so much well conceived variance, as he does this little eight-sided piece of geometry.

Another strong aspect of this collection is Mohapatra’s choice of fabrics. Strong, shiny, squishy nextgen fabrics dominate the first half of this collection. The daywear pieces are all using a variety of new fabrics, something a number of designers have seemed to embrace but none, again, quite as effectively. Bibhu sews pieces together in ways that are intriguing and avoid being visually overwhelming. His panels are sometimes juxtaposed at interesting angles, and more than a few times it was the back of the dress that carried surprise folds and ruffles.

Daywear silhouettes run a touch more lean than last season. The India-born designer has never been one for excess fabric, but his silhouettes run a little tighter this time around, which make them look a bit more curvy, which in turn makes those geometric prints all the more entertaining.  He tends to give his cutouts a  more sharp edge, with sometimes as many as six sides to them, rather than the triangle we’ve seen frequently this season. He doesn’t go overboard with the cutouts, though, choosing instead to use careful fabric placement to help define the visual line of the garments.

As the collection moves toward the formal side of things, Bibhu looks  toward more traditional fabrics, with plenty of tulle and chiffon in the mix. He uses a great deal of draping and gives more heft and billow to his trains. With a tremendous amount of very well considered beadwork, he provides an ample amount of sparkle with dresses destined to light up the red carpet. Again, this is not strange territory for Mohapatra. I rather expect long, billowy formals at the end of his collection.  Yet again, however, his careful choice and construction of fabrics, and even the re-introduction of the octagonal print given totally different treatments that in the daywear, gave this portion of the collection a lot of extra umph. There was more than once I thought, “My, what a lovely finale piece,” only to look up and see yet another wonderful gown coming along behind it.

This is perhaps the most stunning and most visually impressive ready to wear collection we’ve seen from Bibhu Mohapatra. I am very excited with where he is taking his designs and his very unique ways of piecing fabrics together. I am very anxious to see just what he does next!

Photo credit: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

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