In recent years, New York City’s young fashion designers have enjoyed an unprecedented level of visibility. Unlike their counterparts in Paris, who achieve success by working for storied fashion houses such as Balenciaga, Lanvin, and Givenchy or the young Italians, who often get buried by the publicity machines from huge labels such as Prada, Dolce e Gabbana, Giorgio Armani etc. New York’s young designers are riding high, in no small part thanks to the support of two very influential women, FLOTUS, Michelle Obama and of course, the force of nature that is American Vogue’s Anna Wintour. Obama catapulted Jason Wu‘s career by wearing one of his dresses during the Inaugural Balls and has also raised the popularity, on an international scale, of fashion designers Peter Soronen, Doo-ri Chung and Prabal Gurung among others. For her part, Wintour has consistently devised new (Fashion’s Night Out) and clever ways (The CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund) to promote the careers of these talented young designers.
Amidst the largely day wear-focused collections of young designers showing in New York, Bibhu Mohapatra‘s work cuts a glamorous swath. His specialty is evening wear and furs. Not entirely surprising for a designer who started at Halston and then moved on to work for J.Mendel (a fur house that also makes red carpet dresses) but most remarkable for a four year-old small fashion house. Mohapatra is already making an impact in the American Fashion World as evidenced by orders from the USA’s top department stores as well as select international boutiques and well-placed editorial coverage. Yes, there are other designers that make beautiful evening gowns and he is not Dennis Basso, with regards to furs but he is definitely the only young designer that is showing movie-star worthy dresses, in what appears to be oversize floral prints but are actually photographed crumpled organza patterns, with details that are inspired by a cleft palate (indeed) and can be topped-off with show-stopping diamond-cut mink coats in vivid colors! This is true cutting-edge glamour at its best.
So what can be more seductive than high glamour? Impeccable manners. In the great tradition of the late Bill Blass, Mohapatra is charming and super polite and hits the road several times per year to personally attend his trunk shows at Neiman-Marcus stores and proceeds to spend whatever amount of time is necessary with his clients to assure them that the fabulous cocktail dresses which have just been ordered will be ready, to precise specifications within two weeks, unless of course, a request is made for the extensively beaded gowns which take five weeks as these pieces are often hand-beaded and hand-embroidered. That said, an American spirit shines through as the labels in his garments proudly state that the collection is made in New York City.
Mohapatra is hailed by The CFDA’s Lisa Smilor (@smilor) for his unique voice and excellent sense of color as well as by buyers at Bergdorf Goodman and of course, Neiman-Marcus among other top stores, that it seems just a matter of time for this gifted designer to be swept-up by Hollywood and jet-setting clients across the globe. - Victor Vargas
View the complete Bibhu Mohapatra Fall 2012 Collection at Bibhu.com
Bibhu Mohapatra is available in the Couture Salon on 3 at Neiman-Marcus, San Francisco Tel. (415) 362.3900 as well as select Neiman-Marcus stores nationwide. For more information visit Neiman-Marcus.com