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As a nearly 20 year Fashion Industry Vet, I've made TheFE my place to cover and discuss everything fashionable from books, to designer ready-to-wear to couture. All aspects of a fashionable lifestyle are included. BIG NEWS: I'VE MOVED TheFE TO WORDPRESS to take advantage of their superior publishing platform. See you there!!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Text, Vivian G. Kelly
Images of Collection, Richard Spiegel
Image of Daphne Guinness from
DATE & TIME: Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009
12:15: The Bryant Park Hotel – 25th Floor

Designer Bibhu Mohapatra debuted a capsule collection of 20 looks for his first solo outing since leaving J. Mendel. He’s had to work smart, now that he doesn’t have the mega budget he had at J. Mendel. This involved a great deal of draping and working with muslins and sketching before he made his first cut into the fabrics.

As we arrived early, he took a few minutes to talk to us about his collection and design philosophy.

LM: How are you handling the recession?

BIBHU MOHAPTRA: I tried to keep the prices realistic, giving them a product that is impeccably made with a longer life expectancy.

LM: What was the inspiration?

BM: Three things:
1. The Japanese Warriors from the 15th and 16th century – the look is like a silk and metal armadillo.

2. The artist Hans Hartung – a contemporary of Picasso’s, known for his beautiful canvases of deep colors with spots of color peeking through.

3. Daphne Guinness, who I met at a party. He loved her strong personality and her many collections, among them jewelry and amour.

LM: What do you see her wearing in this collection?

BM: She’d look great in the lacquered black wool coat or the black and silver coin miniskirt.

LM: Designers are cutting back on pricey European fabrics. Who are you buying from?

BM: I love to fabric source. I can do 80 different mills in 3 days at PV [Paris Vision] picking the
best from Europe, China and Japan. One of my favorite resources is Makimura – one of the oldest mills in Kyoto, also used by Dior.

LM: How is your collection different than J. Mendel’s?

BM: The difference with J. Mendel is that this collection is more everyday and day to evening.

FAVORITE PIECE: the resurrected textile from India that made up the dress of peacock feathers and cotton.

This is a designer who's off to a strong star and is in a league with some of the best - Ralph Rucci and Douglas Hannant.

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