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Bibhu Mohapatra Dazzles at the W; Talks Inspirations and Dream Vacations

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Now in its fourth season, the Fashion Next program at W Hotels is giving more emerging designers the ability to gain access to new audiences while simultaneously giving W guests and locals access to what’s new and next in Fashion.

Last night Bibhu Mohapatra, now in his third season as a Fashion Next designer drew a crowd at W City Center on Adams. The Indian-born American designer showed guests his 8th women's collection. Before he let the models loose for the presentation, we had a chance to talk to him about his influences, colors for the future and his dream vacation.

Racked: Do you know a lot about Bollywood? You're Indian, but do you really know Bollywood?
Bibhu: Dude, I grew up in Bollywood, well not really, but it's in my veins. I just came back from doing a show in Bombay and there were a few Bollywood stars in the front row, specifically Aishwarya Rai aka Miss Bachchan. I work with a lot of Hollywood people and I don't get star struck but Bollywood is different.

Racked: Is there any Bollywood influence in your current collection or collections to come?
Bibhu: Not really Bollywood but I would say India is there. Textures in a very subtle way, saturated colors and all the embroidery and beading for my evening pieces is done in India. But am I working on an India-specific collection? Yes, but it's been in progress for a few years but many people have done Indian-inspired collections so I have to be sure I say something new with this collection.

Racked: Speaking of influence, J. Mendel - what other influence besides the obvious has Gilles had on you?
Bibhu: It's in my DNA - I was there for nine years and developed my skills with him but now that I'm doing my own collections I need to make sure it's 100% my own language.

Racked: Color for Fall 2013?
Bibhu: A lot of Asian influence like beautiful reds and blues and colors that are very meaningful in Asian cultures. I think a lot of pure combinations like red and white and blue or black and white with red. Also a lot of neutrals like sand and beige and stone deep navy.

Racked: Paper or plastic?
Bibhu: Paper.

Racked: Dream Vacation?
Bibhu: The one I haven't taken yet is the W Hotel in Maldives.

Racked: Speaking of the W Hotels and travel, what brand suitcase do you use to travel with?
Bibhu: I have a Samsonite and an Indian leather handbag that I use. If there were one piece of advice I'd give to travelers it would be to make sure to separate days and evenings and make sure you have the tools you need to get dressed.

Racked: Since the CFDA has given you a nod by placing you in their Fashion Incubator, many have recognized your work as being innovative, calling you an innovator. Who would you considder to be an innovator not yet recognized?
Bibhu: A young architect I met in India named Shahid who went to Yale, worked with Zaha Hadid in London and is now in India again trying to find himself. His ideas are absolutely radical and crazy and that is also what is working against him. Someone like that needs to be tapped by someone who can give him a chance to be creative and unbridled without any questions or inhibitions. That is what many of us need - chances.
· Bibhu Mohapatra [Official Site]
· Fashion Next [W Hotels]