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Bibhu Mohapatra Fall 2011: Crow Feathers and Coffin Nails

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Bibhu Mohapatra Fall 2011: Crow Feathers and Coffin Nails

Jenni Avins/ThreadNY

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We selected Bibhu Mohapatra as one of our "Thread 10" this season, and over the the past few weeks we’ve gotten increasingly excited seeing his Fall 2011 collection come to fruition. (He had us at "Tilda Swinton in 2030.")

This season, the designer’s increasing confidence allowed him to explore his "dark side," express restraint, and create a collection that was scarily beautiful.

In the dresses, a single print of wide prismatic brush strokes appeared in tones of teal and blue. Beyond that, the palette was restricted to shades that might appear in a peacock’s tail: emerald, plum, slate, graphite, gold, and the blackest black. There’s no questioning Mohapatra’s a master of craft, evident here in complex constructions with cutouts, harnesses, and asymmetrical shapes to make any sample-maker sigh.

Mohapatra earned his stripes at J Mendel, so he speaks the language of outrageous furs. This season, he made jackets of straightened Mongolian lamb, tamped down with tonal embroidered plackets, and running wild over backs and sleeves. He also embossed midnight blue suede with shiny square rivets – “coffin nails,” he said – and made it into jackets that zipped with high collars, bringing silhouettes into a more futuristic realm.

Just before the show, we saw the designer backstage at Lincoln Center, adjusting stiff, origami-like folds on a model’s strapless dress, and primping shiny black crow feathers on another’s choker. As he made the final touches, a crowd gathered at the Box’s entrance, and wrapped around the corridor. Once inside, guests were greeted with what the designer described – and accurately so – as “pure, sinister glamour."

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