By Izzy Ruiz for The Cannon Media Group
One of the most intriguing things about Bibhu Mohapatra is that he is unabashed at using each season to explore himself as an artist. Each collection is expressive and explores many concepts from 1930s chic to French colonial India. It’s been humbling to see him evolve in front of our eyes and he is better the artist for never holding back despite mixed reviews over the years. But this season showed a mature sensibility—and not one that takes away from his expressiveness, but a sensibility that is modern and exemplary of great American sportswear.
What’s ironic is Bibhu attributes his inspiration for his fourth season to new beginnings. To explore that idea, he chose clean lines and shapes for the majority of his looks—almost like a stretched canvas on its easel. Shades of blush, sage white and dove grey served as background, along with pops of coral. This palette we’ve seen a lot this season, setting up what will be a demure, feminine 2014. From there he painted a picture of a blossoming spring. Incorporating digital printing, Bibhu presented watercolor interpretations of Indian florals. Watercolor also made numerous appearances on the runways and is such a romantic infusion of femininity without being girly. He also used 3D adornments such as petals and beading to create texture and set the scene of a budding landscape.
To make the collection modern, he used pleating, seaming and cut-outs to create lines that were almost fractal – which in itself is also a component of nature, just from the mathematical side. It created a dynamic contrast against the florals and delicate color palette. The pleating also gave him the opportunity to indulge his fans with the flurry of skirts in his dresses that he’s known for. He closed his show with evening pieces that were classic Bibhu—luxurious, dreamy and red carpet fabulous. To say Bibhu Mohapatra is starting a new beginning is almost to take away from his process, because this collection shows that his voice as a designer is only refined not redacted. So let us say it’s not a new beginning, it’s just the next level for what will be a legendary career.