Six Red Carpet Rules by Designer Bibhu Mohapatra

What does it really take to be crowned red-carpet royalty? Co-conspirators Bibhu Mohapatra and Esha Gupta give us a crash course. By Rochelle Pinto in the Vogue March issue, shared online exclusively with

Bibhu mohapatra & Esha Gupta

Mohapatra couldn’t be happier. “I’ve always wanted to work with her,” he confesses, watching Gupta as the make-up artist fusses over her. “Creative people can really transform a garment with their own personality.”

He would know: the Odisha-born, New York-based designer first hit the headlines when a dress from his autumn/ winter 2009 collection featured on the cult TV show, Gossip Girl. “The gown was a three-metre-long painting printed onto chiffon,” he recalls. “Katie Cassidy wore it in one of the episodes and she looked stunning. That gown was from my first collection, so the moment was really special.”

“Bibhu is a man who understands women,” Gupta explains simply. “I work out really hard, but the wrong dress can make me look bulky. His designs accentuate my curves and make me feel pretty.”

Mohapatra’s ascent to red-carpet royalty has also coincided with a slow shift in the wardrobe choices of the A-listers in his home country. Figures hard-won with strict diets and celebrity trainers now demand thigh-high slits and waist-accentuating sheaths; who needs the forgiving sari when there isn’t an extra inch to hide? Many luxury brands are still to make their entry into India, yet their gowns are routinely flown in when demanded by a top star.

Vogue asked the designer to share with us more fail-safe red-carpet tips.

1. Trust your designer
“Stars are surrounded by sycophants telling them they look great no matter what. It’s important to find a designer you trust and who is open to collaborating with you on the perfect garment.”

2. Know your body
“We all have perceptions of our own bodies and an idea of what looks good. Sometimes you’re right, sometimes you’re really wrong. The key is to really understand your body and personality.”

3. Trends can be tricky
“Summer leather may be a trend, but let’s get real: if it’s 40 degrees Celsius outside, you’re probably safer with something soft and chiffon.”

4. Dress for the role
“When it comes to celebrities at red carpet events, it’s important to know: Is she a guest, presenter or nominee? Just because it’s the Academy Awards, there’s no need to wear everything and the kitchen sink. But if you’re the host there’s a certain sophistication that the role demands, so your wardrobe should help you look the part.”

5. Listen to Coco
“Coco Chanel said, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” Of course, for some people, there’s no such thing as overdressed. But you have to have the personality to make overkill work.”

6. Pick a focus
“If you plan to wear a stunning piece of jewellery, the dress should be used as a canvas. Similarly, if the garment is bold, everything else needs to be minimised. It’s better to have one hero piece stand out in your ensemble than have everything fighting for attention.”

Read more in Vogue India’s March 2014 issue, on stands now.
Image credits: 
Photographed by Martin Prihoda, Styled by Priyanka Kapadia

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