Bibhu Mohapatra - Fashion designer

Bibhu Mohapatra: Heritage as the Foundation of Creativity

Bibhu Mohapatra, a celebrated fashion designer born in Rourkela, Odisha, has made a significant impact on the fashion scene in New York City. His exceptional design skills have adorned prominent personalities, including First Lady Michelle Obama and Jennifer Lepage. Mohapatra’s journey into fashion began with learning stitching from his mother, rooted in traditional methods. This connection to his heritage has deeply influenced his creative process, resulting in opulent and ultra-elegant designs recognized globally.

Biography & Career

Bibhu Mohapatra was born on June 7, 1922, in India. He pursued higher education at the University of Utah in the United States. In 2014, he married Robert Ronae Beard. Mohapatra’s professional journey in fashion began at J. Mendel, where he eventually left to establish his own label, the Purple Label. Since 2008, he has been offering stylish clothing, fine costumes, and accessories. His debut collection at New York Fashion Week in 2009 received high praise, and his luxury women’s ready-to-wear lines have since garnered attention worldwide, including cities like New York, Houston, Palm Beach, Mumbai, and Beijing. Mohapatra’s collections are available in various boutiques globally.

In 2021, Mohapatra’s Spring collection for the Met Gala drew inspiration from Amrita Sher-Gil, and his designs continue to reflect his unique blend of Indian heritage and modern aesthetics.

Collaborations and Collections

Bibhu Mohapatra has been associated with Forevermark, a division of De Beers, since 2016. He launched a remarkable diamond jewelry collection that year, complementing his Fall-Winter 2019 collection showcased at New York Fashion Week. His first exclusive collection, “Artemis by Bibhu Mohapatra,” was followed by another De Beers collaboration in 2019, marking a decade of his influential presence in the fashion industry.

Inspiration from Heritage

Mohapatra attributes much of his creative inspiration to his mother, Sashi. In an interview with Elle India, he shared, “For me, my first language or sensibility of colors and patterns came from my mother, Sashi.” Honoring her influence, he introduced a new line named “Sashi by Bibhu” in the winter of 2018/2019 at New York Fashion Week. This collection, running alongside his luxury lines, offers affordable designer clothing inspired by his mother’s legacy, featuring items like fluted skirts, silk blouses, cocktail dresses, and trousers. Mohapatra emphasized that the collection is a tribute to the powerful women in his life and aims to meet the practical needs of everyday fashion.

Charitable Works

In his home state of Odisha, India, Mohapatra has supported traditional hand weavers by designing collections of hand-woven silk saris. He also co-founded the India Society in New York, which assists fashion and fine art students with internships and tutoring in universities across the U.S.

Honors and Awards

In 2021, the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, invited Mohapatra to design costumes for their post-COVID reopening, honoring Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He also served as the primary costume designer for Verdi’s opera Aida during the 2012 summer season at the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown, New York.

Mohapatra’s accolades include the “Young Innovator Award” from the National Arts Club in 2010 and membership in the Council of Fashion Designers of America. His work has been featured in exhibitions such as “Surface” by SCAD Atlanta in 2010, and he was a finalist for the 2014 International Woolmark Prize.


Bibhu Mohapatra’s motto, “creativity from the roots,” highlights his dedication to blending heritage with innovation. His success as a designer in New York City, while staying true to his Indian roots, serves as an inspiration to many. Mohapatra exemplifies how staying connected to one’s origins can foster humility and authenticity, making a lasting impact on the global fashion industry.



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