HTX_Clifford_on_the_Catwalk_2014
Spring Fashion Preview

The next Oscar? Mohapatra puts his designs on sophisticated collection with independent spirit

The next Oscar? Mohapatra shows chic collection with indie spirit

Bibhu Mohapatra spring 2015 collection look 21
Bibhu Mohapatra pearl and black intarsia mink cape with Laotian silk and woven leather panel, onyx embroidered shirt, and crepe skirt. Photo by Kevin Sturman
Bibhu Mohapatra spring 2015 collection look 37
Bibhu Mohapatra peony and rosewater crepe gown with crystal embroidered poppies. Photo by Kevin Sturman
Fashion Week spring 2015 designer Bibhu Mohapatra
Bibhu Mohapatra. Photo by © Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz
Fashion Week spring 2015 Bibhu Mohapatra gown
Bibhu Mohapatra multi-weave print and ivory silk cotton gown. Photo by © Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz
Bibhu Mohapatra spring 2015 collection look 25
Bibhu Mohapatra regatta poppy and illusion weave print dress with back drape. Photo by Kevin Sturman
Fashion Week spring 2015 Bibhu Mohapatra lace gown
Bibhu Mohapatra cloud organza and tulle embroidered ball dress. Photo by © Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz
Bibhu Mohapatra spring 2015 collection look 1
Bibhu Mohapatra Laotian jacquard short waist top with organza panes and Laotian jacquard miniskirt. Photo by Kevin Sturman
Bibhu Mohapatra spring 2015 collection look 6
Bibhu Mohapatra multi-weave print short waist top with organza panes, multi-weave print ponte cigarette pants. Photo by Kevin Sturman
Bibhu Mohapatra spring 2015 collection look 13
Bibhu Mohapatra bleached poppy embroidered top with organza sleeves and cloud supima cotton cigarette pants. Photo by Kevin Sturman
Bibhu Mohapatra spring 2015 collection look 39
Bibhu Mohapatra gold and blush micro sequin embroidered column gown with portrait neckline. Photo by Kevin Sturman
Bibhu Mohapatra spring 2015 collection look 21
Bibhu Mohapatra spring 2015 collection look 37
Fashion Week spring 2015 designer Bibhu Mohapatra
Fashion Week spring 2015 Bibhu Mohapatra gown
Bibhu Mohapatra spring 2015 collection look 25
Fashion Week spring 2015 Bibhu Mohapatra lace gown
Bibhu Mohapatra spring 2015 collection look 1
Bibhu Mohapatra spring 2015 collection look 6
Bibhu Mohapatra spring 2015 collection look 13
Bibhu Mohapatra spring 2015 collection look 39

NEW YORK — Fashion is always looking for the next big thing — the new generation of American designers who emulate the sophisticated style of Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera but put their own stamp on designs with a 21st century panache.

Count Bibhu Mohapatra on the list.

 It's an eclectic collection based on his fascination with Nancy Cunard,  the beautiful heiress to the shipping fortune who spent much of her life fighting facism and racism. 

The 42-year-old Indian-American designer, who worked for Halston and was the design director at J. Mendel for a decade before launching his own namesake collection in 2008, has won a following for his sleek and sophisticated collections. (Michelle Obama is among his clients; the first lady wore his citrus print design on The Tonight Show a couple of years ago.) Mohapatra, a featured designer at Elizabeth Anthony, will show his spring 2015 line at Fashion Houston on Nov. 20.

It's an eclectic offering based on his fascination with Nancy Cunard,  the beautiful heiress to the shipping fortune who spent much of her life fighting facism and racism after becoming romantically involved with Henry Crowder, an African-American jazz musician who was working in Paris in the the 1920s. Mohapatra discovered a biography on Cunard while on a trip across the Atlantic on one of the namesake cruise line's ships.

He captures her independent spirit with a striking collection incorporating unusual fabrics, including a circular geometric print developed in Laos that is used in day suits, moto jackets and even a cape with black intarsia mink sleeves. A multi-weave print shows up on sleeveless sheaths, chic cigarette pants and matching top, and even the skirt of an evening gown.

Feathers, crystal embroidered poppies and oversized floral prints all jazz up the collection, along with patterns that have a deco tinge.

Gowns are Mohapatra's speciality, and while the colors in his latest collection are a bit subdued, they incorporate prints and embellishment to make a fashion statement. He's a name to remember.