Bibhu Mohapatra Fall 2018

Bibhu Mohapatra is one of those go-to shows during New York Fashion: The Shows. Season after season, Bibhu Mohapatra has proven that he continuously has his finger on the pulse of what women want to wear.

This season was no exception; however, the rich embroideries and embellishments and the luxury design aesthetics that we have come to expect from Bibhu Mohapatra was not as front and center as seen in previous collections. And though this fall 2018 collection was lovely with more of an injection of youthful insouciance and retail viability, the ‘fashion as art’ aspect—something most fashion pundits love about Bibhu Mohapatra—of Mohapatra’s collection took a backseat to the brand’s projection toward a more youthful market.A few seasons back Mohapatra had to reorganize his company in order to move his brand forward and get rid of some obligations that was keeping the brand from evolving. One of the evolutions that were front and center this season is the brand’s introduction of Sashi by Bibhu, a more contemporary separates line at affordable prices. This price accessible line, though beautiful in its on right, pales in comparison to what most fashion insiders have come to expect from BIbhu Mohapatra.For his fall 2018 collection, the Dickensian characters found in Great Expectations—in particular, an adult Estella and Miss Havisham inspired Bibhu Mohapatra. For those familiar with Miss Havisham and Estella, both characters represent unrequited love. In Miss Havisham’s case, abandoned at the wedding altar, Miss Havisham lives her life wearing her wedding gown, reflecting on what could have been. While Estella, though raised to be an elegant and proper Englishwoman, uses her grace and many acquired charms to entice suitors without ever having an intention of manifesting true love for anyone. Like many noblewomen of her class and status, expressing emotion and affectation don’t come naturally.Mohapatra’s color palette of pale greys, orchid reds and magentas, shimmery silvers reflect colors and hues that relate to the characters in Dickens’ Great Expectations. The pale greys and shimmery silvers denote Miss Havisham’s faded glory and her never-used bridal gown, and orchid red and magenta reflects Estella’s youthful ardent vibrancy and bloom still on the rose. And Mohapatra’s jewel-encrusted coats and beaded turbans reflect the elegance and aristocratic brilliance of that time.

                              Images courtesy of Marcus Tondo/Indigital.tv/vogue.com

That said; though this collection was fresh and beautiful, many fashion insiders miss Mohapatra’s fashion risk-taking of last season. And though Mohapatra’s ‘fashion as art’ garments from previous seasons may have only appealed to a niche market, it sure made fashionistas eyes sparkle.—William S. Gooch

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