Growing up with his family in Odisa, on the East Coast of India, Bibhu Mohapatra’s appreciation for sumptuous Indian fabrics and vibrant colors began at an early age. This initial exposure to textiles and garment construction still inspires Bibhu’s designs and permeates throughout the collections of his namesake label.
Bibhu moved to America in 1996, and after graduating from Utah State University with a Masters degree in Economics, moved to New York City in 1999 were he then enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology. While
working on his design degree, Bibhu honed his skills as an assistant designer at the iconic American fashion label, Halston.
In his senior year at FIT, Bibhu was commended for his design skill and aesthetic and awarded the prestigious Critic’s Award for Best Evening Wear Designer. This recognition helped launch his career. After graduating, Bibhu was hired by Gilles Mendel, CEO of the iconic French furrier J. Mendel.
Bibhu held the position of Design Director at the label for nine years, where his innate talent and sense of style were revealed in the cutting edge designs of glamorous gowns and magnificently opulent furs. Responding to the rapidly increasing demand for his work however, Bibhu moved out on his own and began designing custom couture evening gowns, cocktail dresses and furs for a select group of private clients in New York, Europe and India.
Bibhu’s eponymous label, Bibhu Mohapatra, launched its first collection during New York Fashion week in 2009. Since then, the fashion house is currently being sold at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Lane Crawford and select specialty boutiques across North America, Europe, Russia and the Middle East. To date, celebrities such as Hilary Swank, Gwyneth Paltrow, Glenn Close, Jennifer Lopez, Ciara, Rita Ora and Lupita Nyong’o have all worn Bibhu’s designs and recently he has had the honor of dressing the US First Lady, Michelle Obama upon her arrival to India. This will be the third time the First Lady has worn a Bibhu original.
In January 2010, Bibhu was a finalist in the Women’s Apparel 2010 Rising Star Award presented by the Fashion Group International. In May 2010 he received the Young Innovator Award from the National Arts Club, and in June 2010 he became a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. In January 2011, Bibhu received the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation Award.
Bibhu Mohapatra signed his first licensing deal in 2014 for namesake fur collection with BC International. The collection is currently sold at Saks Fifth Avenue.
In 2016 Bibhu launched his first ever fine jewelry collection, ARTEMIS, in collaboration with De Beers.
Photography: Manoj Jhadav