SEPTEMBER 12, 2012, 12:00 PM
Dress Code | Bibhu Mohapatra
By CHELSEA ZALOPANY
In this Fashion Week exclusive, T documents the making of a collection-defining dress.
This past May while designing costumes for “Aida” at the Cooperstown Opera House in Upstate New York, the designer Bibhu Mohapatra snapped a photograph of a luna moth. Five months later, that very image is tacked to the center of Mohapatra’s spring 2013 mood board. And, that’s more or less how the designer starts each collection: one picture serves as a jumping-off point to the season’s theme – in this case, lalique dragonflies, hand-cut origami by the Japanese artist Kako Ueda and images of a butterfly-covered Kate Moss have been added to his inspiration wall – then fabrics and textures come into play, and only then does he begin sketching. “Because I’m a start-up, I don’t really have the luxury of making numerous muslins and samples for each garment,” explained Mohapatra, who is now in his 10th season. “A lot of the editing process is done through sketches.” Take this column dress, which was hand-sewn and created on Mohapatra’s longtime fit model and friend, Lucy Owen. “I love working with Lucy because she doesn’t complain if I pin her accidentally,” said the designer as he fiddled with two free-flowing “wings” of fabric fastened to the front of the piece. The dress, entitled the Ivory Moth, features fluttering sheer white Italian silk panels (a digital re-creation of exploding butterfly wings is printed down each panel) and is set atop a blush pink chiffon silk sheath slip. “I’ve sewn layers upon layers to give the impression that the layers will shed,” said Mohapatra in reference to the caterpillar and butterfly relationship. “If I do a very bad job of sewing, these layers are literally going to float off the runway.”
Click link to W Magazine For the viral video from Bibhu Mohapatra.
Debbie Ryan at Teen Chiose Awards in New York
Dress by Bibhu Mohapatra for Resort 2013
Fresh off presenting his Talitha Getty-inspired resort collection, designer Bibhu Mohapatra will soon see the fruits of another hard labor when the opera Aida—for which he designed over 30 costumes—premieres at the Glimmerglass festival in Cooperstown, New York on July 7th. Glimmerglass Opera General & Artistic Director Francesca Zambello approached Mohapatra after attending his fall 2011 collection. The result is a modern, but still elaborate take on the classic Verdi work, in which the Ethiopian princess, Aida, is kidnapped and enslaved by the Egyptians, whose military commander, Radames, falls in love with her, while ignoring the affections of Amneris, the Pharaoh’s daughter. Doomed romance ensues.
“It’s such an emotional story about love and country and duties. It’s almost like a Bollywood story for me,” says the India-born Mohapatra, who was charged with striking a balance between the contemporary and the fantastical for this production. “The Egyptians have a lot of gold and black and then the soldiers, they’re wearing combat boots with jodhpurs and shirts with patch pockets.”
Bibhu Mohapatra-designed costumes for Adia
As for Aida and Amneris (the “nice one” and “evil princess,” as Mohapatra puts it), they have quite a wardrobe courtesy of the designer. The former spends the entirety of the opera in one look, an ivory hand-pleated, corseted A-line dress with chiffon panels, a tulle underskirt and a veil of sheer chiffon, trimmed in red, also the color of an Ethiopian cross on her chest. (Mohapatra will distress it to make it look like she’s walked through mud and sand.) Amneris, meanwhile, has three outfits, including a gown of gold lame jacquard, a specially made fabric from the designer’s fall 2011 collection, patterned lightly with images of brain scans. For her final scene, she sports a black sequin dress with black tulle beneath and a jeweled choker with black crow feathers covering half of her face.
“She’s pure evil witnessing the demise of the two young lovers,” explains Mohapatra.
For more information on Aida and Glimerglass, visit Glimmerglass.org.
By Vanessa Lawrence
June 26, 2012