Catherine Blair Pfander
Bibhu Mohapatra, who claims he got his start in fashion sewing clothes for his sister in India, has that rare talent of designing clothes that women don't just appreciate, but really, desperately want to wear. Less concerned with obscure design references and high concepts than with timeless beauty and immaculate detailing, Bibhu's clothes are reliably gorgeous, yet relevant to a modern woman. If the line wrapping around Lincoln Center was any indication, Bibhu has truly found his fanbase this season.
For Spring 2011, Bibhu put a swingin' 60's spin on classic dresses and separates by adding giant, white-rimmed sunglasses and colorful mod newsboy caps. But there was something charmingly retro about some of the garments themselves: an amethyst satin cocktail dress featured large, bubble-like inlays, and a smock-like trench in crisp white could have been swiped from a Jackie O exhibit at the Kennedy Center. Likewise, a balloon-sleeve minidress in silk chiffon looked like it was imagined with Twiggy in mind.
The inky watercolor print featured on some of the evening gowns and cocktail dresses felt feminine but still fresh, and with crisp origami folds wrap-around leather belts, would be perfectly suited to a chic work setting.