Bibhu Mohapatra ivory and onyx sari gown with black and silver gota embroidery. (Photo by Yannis Vlamos/Indigital.tv)
Bibhu Mohapatra onyx silk barathea ball gown with Tree of Life pipli embroidery. (Photo by Yannis Vlamos / Indigital.tv)
Bibhu Mohapatra rust organic silk block print Angarakhi tunic with red crepe cigarette pants. (Photo by Yannis Vlamos/Indigital.tv)
Bibhu Mohapatra pale pink tulle razia gown with Mughal tree embroidery. (Photo by Yannis Vlamos /Indigital.tv)
Bibhu Mohapatra sindoor red crepe and lace dress with sculpted shoulders. (Photo by Yannis Vlamos/Indigital.tv)
Bibhu Mohapatra ivory onyx and sand Supima cotton pleated Banjara dress. (Photo by Yannis Vlamos/Indigital.tv)
Bibhu Mohapatra Jaipur pink tulle dress with silver sequined pipli embroidery. (Photo by Yannis Vlamos/Indigital.tv)
Bibhu Mohapatra ash woolen cashmere sherwani over parrot green cashmere turtleneck and ivory crepe dhoti pants.(Photo by Yannis Vlamos/Indigital.tv)
Bibhu Mohapatra rust organic silk block print winged top with ash wollen cashmere four panel skirt. (Photo by Anna Vivare)
Bibhu Mohapatra henna striped silk winged top with smoke broadtail embroidered skirt. (Photo by Anna Vivare)
Bibhu Mohapatra sand and ivory Jaisalmer safari dress with earrings from the Narayan Jewelers Empress Collection. (Photo by Anna Vivare)
Bibhu Mohapatra henna crepe dress with sequined pipli embroidery and striped silk wings. (Photo by Yannis Vlamos/Indigital.tv)
Bibhu Mohapatra rust organic silk block print Jodhpur dress. (Photo by Yannis Vlamos/Indigital.tv)
NEW YORK — A cerebral designer, Bibhu Mohapatra often bases his collections on books that have inspired him. For fall ’20, he looked to his native India and the classic 1950 Punjabi novel, Pinjar, by poet and novelist Amrita Pritam, as a focal point to explore “the strength and the resilience of the modern Indian woman” since the country’s independence 72 years ago.
The collection, which Mohapatra unveiled at New York Fashion Week, puts a contemporary spin on some traditional Indian ways of dressing, melding modern silhouettes with time-honored techniques of intricate embroidery, feathers and sequined embellishments.
He opened with a fresh take on the banjara dress, featuring an accordion pleated skirt with layers of black, beige and ivory, and ended with a series of gorgeous gowns incorporating traditional Indian embroidery in tree of life or cloud patterns.
He also experiments with the bold colors of his homeland, featuring bright Jaipur pink gowns heavily embellished with silver embroidery and a stark high-necked long-sleeved gown in an eye-popping shade of sindoor, based on the traditional vermilion red or orange-red colored cosmetic powder.
The references are subtle and not overpowering. Harmen-like Dhoti pants in crepe or lacquered velvet are paired with a stylish alligator jacket trimmed in sable or a long cashmere coat and parrot green turtleneck. And a sari gown in Gota embroidery is modernized with a black waistband and train along the front and back.
Mohapatra also has fun in combining a long elephant-print Angarakhi tunic with red crepe cigarette pants and attaching angel-like wings to a luxe green cocktail dress in a henna-striped pattern.
Many of the looks are accessorized with colorful oversized feather pieces, which Mohapatra created with close friend and luxury jewelry designer Ranjana Khan.
He also collaborated with Narayan Jewellers to create a line of statement jewelry crafted with responsibly sourced Forevermark diamonds, set in 18-karat white and rose gold. The Empress Collection includes ear climbers, ear jackets, chandelier earrings, asymmetrical earrings, stackable rings and cocktail handcuffs.