Show notes elucidated that Bibhu Mohapatra’s Wednesday presentation was largely inspired by modern dance’s capacity to grant both empowerment and liberation.
More personally, this concept related to dancer Wendy Whelan–a close friend of Mohapatra–and her transition from the structured rigor of being one of the New York City Ballet’s principal dancers to a more expressive license found via creating and performing her own modern dance compositions.
It is a trajectory not dissimilar to that which Mohapatra has taken, having design-directed for the course of a decade for J. Mendel prior to launching his own brand in 2008. Now helming his own collection, he’s moved his Mendel-honed skills in new personal directions; his spring 2014 collection evidenced this to thrilling effect positioning at center stage, his love of all things exquisitely hand-crafted or (as they say around the atelier) “technique”.
Consider his “fractured” motif that was realized in a myriad of materials; from cobwebby embroidery to exuberant print, its angularity brought dramatic bite to Bibhu’s frothy evening gowns. His goal this season was clearly to take them in a fresher more modern direction, as an intriguing organza bodice construction allowed pleating and applique details to appear suspended on the body.
“Suspension” (another concept plucked from the modern dance lexicon) was also engaged within the assortment’s asymmetrical necklines; they employed self-belts confidently, injecting architectural precision throughout the collection’s more tailored moments. Growing these moments may be the next step for Mohapatra, who seems to have a strong foothold on the cocktail and evening side of things but is still defining his “day” voice.
It is a voice that will undoubtedly be well received as the collection’s single pant ensemble–a chic a sleek matched set in a pale cement tone–was met with much approval from his audience of attendees.