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Photo Courtesy Bibhu Mohapatra
Interview

BIBHU MOHAPATRA

03.02.12

Bibhu Mohapatra is a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology. Before launching his namesake collection in 2009, Bibhu honed his skills as a design assistant at Halston and later moved on to become design director at J.Mendel.

Interview

What was your inspiration for the FW collection?

Inspired by the early 20th century Chinese opera, The White Haired Girl, the Fall 2012 collection revolves around the protagonist’s strength, passion and courage for love in Imperial China.

Have you been showing at fashion week since the launch of your collection? When did you start?

Yes, I have been showing during the NY fashion week since I started my collection. Most of them were presentations.

Discuss your involvement in W Hotels Fashion Next program.

W hotel has always been involved in fashion, but with the Fashion Next program they provide a solid platform for young brands to establish and grow.  When the Director of the program, Jenne Lombardo reached out to me to join, I was honored to accept. The collection started out with more evening wear and has since branched into more RTW.

Was there a demand from customers? What brought about the change?

I have always wanted to do a full collection however my evening wear took off first and I decided to build my brand on that.  Now I slowly reach into ready to wear by broadening that category, by demands from my direct clients.

How would you describe your customer?

She is confident, strong, well travelled, someone who is passionate about beautifully crafted clothes.

Where does she shop? What other brands does she wear?

She is worldly, she shops at destinations.YSL, J. Mendel, Giambatista valli, Lanvin and Rochas.

Would you merchandise the Bibhu Mohapatra label with theirs? How far does your line reach internationally?

We are in Aisa, Europe, North America, we are working on a project to have a presence in South America.

What are some of your current retail outlets?

Bibhu’s designs are sold at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks 5th Ave and other select specialty boutiques in North America, Europe, Russia and the Middle East.

Originally from India, is this something you took for granted? Was it easier or harder than building up a retail list in the US?

My Heritage is my DNA and it comes through my work and it gives that edge to my clothes.

You’ve managed to build up your company all in house…when you look back to you need to pinch yourself when you think about how far you’ve come?

It seems like yesterday when we were making patterns on the floor of out 15X15 room on the upper west side.  We indeed have come a long way.

Where do you see the brand in 5 years?

In every closet, in every accessory bin, on Men, women and on children, and on brides: I would like to have accessories lines, a bridal collection, fur collection and eventually a menswear line.

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