East meets west. Elegance meets feminism. Bibhu Mohapatra is looking to the past to help women secure the future as we map out our struggles and turn them into our strengths.
Bibhu Mohapatra has understood struggle this past year, as reported by Vogue, filing bankruptcy wasn’t easy but he did it with a strong sense of optimism. “I’m going through a change but my business is stronger than ever.” He saw that going through this major change as a designer was not a set back, it was a way to inspire his next collection.
Mohapatra empathizes with the difficulties that women go through, especially when it comes to the comparison between the sexes. A few months back, the designer stumbled across an article on famous women explorers. The designer shared with Vogue, “When we talk about explorers, it’s always male names, but there were so many female explorers from this country alone: Nellie Bly, of course Amelia Earhart,” This inspired his Spring 2018 collection. He imagined the modern woman heading to Japan in the 20th century. She has a certain elegance as well as an independence.
The world as a whole, is changing. It is a scary time, but as women we are in an awakening. We are seeing our strengths and bringing them to the forefront of society. We want to celebrate what it is to be a woman without continuously being compared to men or having the expectation that we need to be exactly like men. In this collection, Mohapatra combines a certain masculinity but made sure to add gentle fabrics in order to show that balance. He wants us to still want to put on the gown but not feel any less powerful wearing it. In his last looks, gathering of the fabric on the arms was emphasized to almost make it look like the models were wearing armor. We are going into battle to defend what it means to be female.
Personally, what I seek in my day to day life is finding the balance between being the type of feminine elegance that makes me happy and being the woman that will no longer let a man “mansplain” anything to me. I am tired of being told what a “woman” looks like to the rest of society. The state of our government has furthered the notion that it is OK to demean women and our intelligence. I have experienced this on so many levels. From the mechanic who tries to tell me that my car needs more work thinking I know nothing about cars, to the gentleman calling me sweetie in order to get my attention, I want to set an example and show others that this is not the way women want to be treated, nor should they. I want to exist as I am, strong and refined.
Here’s a look at the collection:
Supima Cotton Tunic with Shibari Top and Silk Ramie Kabuki Skirt – The tie at the collar is a wonderful take on a way a woman could make the tie her own.
Crepe Tunic with embroidered silk Mikado Belt Skirt – The softness of the skirt and the details in this photo don’t do it justice in person! It was glistening down the runway!
Miko Eyelet Emrboidery Kimono top with Masuri Lace and Crepe Skirt with Silk Crepe Obi – This kimono top gave a polished look with this beauful lace skirt.
Miko Eyelet Crystal Embroidered Tulle Dress – The detail in this dress was stunning. The cut is a definite reflection of the influence Mohapatra found in 1920s Japan.
Silk Mikado Ocha Dress with Origami petal sleeves and train – The exaggerated sleeves on this look were bold, but had that old Hollywood feel.