Award-winning fashion designer Bibhu Mohapatra will visit Utah State University’s Logan campus in March to host a series of events. Mohapatra has dressed the likes of actresses Lupita Nyong’o, Zendaya and former first lady Michelle Obama.
A Conversation with Bibhu takes place from 5-6 p.m. Thursday, March 24, in the Daines Concert Hall in the Chase Fine Arts Center, followed by an opening exhibition reception from 6-8 p.m., at the Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art. An exhibition of Mohapatra’s designs will be on display at the museum Tuesday, March 22, through Saturday, April 2. Events are open to the public and registration for the opening reception is encouraged as space is limited due to COVID-19. Registration is available at usu.edu/bibhu.
“When I think about my work, it always goes back to this idea of craft.
Crafts that are ancient or dying or actively being reinvented … those crafts speak to me.” —Bibhu Mohapatra
While Mohapatra moved to the United States in 1996, his years growing up on the east coast of India in Odisha formed the expanding spirit of everything he sees and creates. His mother, Shashikala, instilled in him at an early age a near obsession with handwork and textiles as well as a deep appreciation for making clothes that function and symbolize something powerful.
“My memories of my mother and her teaching me to sew are always very much a part of my design process,” Mohapatra said. “And I’m always instilling those early skills, influences and experiences into various aspects of my collections.”
Mohapatra graduated from USU in 1998 with a master’s in merchandising from the Department of Human Environment. He then went on to earn a fashion design degree from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. The ambitious designer honed his skills as assistant designer for Halston in 1998, then transformed J. Mendel into one of the most sought-after luxury brands over a tenure of nine years as the design director.
In 2008, Mohapatra launched his namesake label with a private order of just three coats and quickly became known for his structured silhouettes and bold designs. His confidence-inducing collections have been a staple on fashion week runways and celebrity red carpets for over a decade.
While Mohapatra has garnered awards and recognition from Ecco Domani, the National Arts Club and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), he is resolute about his mission for making beautiful things.
“I don’t just want to dress a woman for a one-time affair,” Mohapatra said. “To me, it’s important that my designs give women a deep sense of self-assurance, reminding them of who they are. That no matter what they do or where they go, they can feel confident, strong and beautiful on their terms.”
In January 2010, Mohapatra was a finalist in the women’s apparel 2010 Rising Star award presented by the Fashion Group International. In May 2010, he received the Young Innovator award from the National Arts Club, and in June 2010 he became a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. In January 2011, the designer received the Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation award. The same year he was also selected for the CFDA Fashion Incubator, a program that was created to nurture and support promising young brands. In 2016, he launched his first ever fine jewelry collection, Artemis, in collaboration with DeBeers Forevermark.
For more information about Bibhu Mohapatra, visit https://www.bibhu.com/.