For Bibhu Mohapatra, there is no better way to complete his designs than with diamond jewellery. “They speak the same language,” he says, one that is natural, fluid, and versatile. A stealth energy surrounds these pieces, rooted in the joy and confidence they instill into the wearer — similar to how his clothing is designed to make women feel. “My clothes are always a study of opposites, sharp tailoring and fluidity, masculinity and femininity — much like a real diamond, a stone that represents multitudes of emotions.
In a representation of this symbiotic association, he sketches two outfits, each inspired by XXL earrings — an NDC jewellery trend for 2023. With cascading chandeliers, diamond drops, and Art Deco influences, the two pairs he chose echo his design philosophy of contradictions, both similar yet entirely different in spirit. “Large earrings aren’t just a piece of jewellery, they are a signature of strength. My approach for designing clothes centred on these stems from completing the look in a way that makes the wearer feel more like themselves.”
How did the combination of natural diamonds and emeralds inform your design, particularly the material?
The gemstone colour is beautiful and intense, but at the same time translucent, the light passes through it beautifully. We used layers of chiffon with a glossy undertone to recreate this diaphanous quality. The dress has a more relaxed silhouette, it is important yet fun and not too serious, just like the earrings. The play of colours in the piece was also an important consideration, with green for the emerald, white for natural diamonds, and black to represent the negative space between the dangling stripes.
There is a sense of geometry to the piece, with a triangular emerald framed by baguette and round natural diamonds. In what ways do you draw from this?
The piece has movement, it has shapes, it has dimension — if you look at it sideways, it has different layers. In creating something sheer, the lines and triangles became the embellishments in black thread embroidery. Within the linear elements of this piece, there are also organic shapes. I have tried to capture this balance of structure and fluidity in my design.
I HAVE TRIED TO CAPTURE THIS BALANCE OF STRUCTURE AND FLUIDITY IN MY DESIGN
How do these earrings speak to the contemporary wearability of natural diamonds?
When it comes to the natural diamond earrings, I see them at a big ball as much as I do at brunch with friends. Today, it’s not about saving jewellery for special occasions, but about mixing and matching and truly enjoying the pieces. The design of these in particular is so modern that it can be worn with a simple dress or a pair of jeans. But they carry enough importance to create a strong look, whether the outfit is solid and monochromatic or an elaborate chiffon gown like the one I have designed. I would love for this ensemble to be worn by my forever muse, Rekha.
What about these natural earrings stands out most to you, in the context of design and craftsmanship?
This is among the most beautiful pieces of jewellery that I have seen. In the way that it is designed, you almost don’t see the metal that holds together the individual natural diamonds. It’s very finely made, yet it is sturdy, which lends itself to different iterations and moods. I could create many outfits inspired by the elements of these earrings.
How have the floral motifs of these natural diamond earrings inspired your design?
Immensely. The dress itself is simple, sleeveless black with an asymmetric hem skirt. What I found really interesting was these clusters of natural diamonds that are beautifully curved and feminine, but balanced with lines of baguettes. The pinstripe nature that offsets the florals brings in details of men’s tailoring through sparkling embroideries, which I find gives women’s clothing an edge. The florals of these earrings are quite solid and static, but they are paired with these raindrops of natural diamonds. It’s why I used a tightly woven silk faille that creates a shape beautifully.
THE WAY THAT IT’S DESIGNED, YOU ALMOST DON’T SEE THE METAL THAT HOLDS TOGETHER THE INDIVIDUAL NATURAL DIAMONDS. I COULD CREATE MANY OUTFITS INSPIRED BY THE ELEMENTS OF THESE EARRINGS.
What occasion do you see this look most suited for?
It can be a perfect cocktail outfit, like a black-tie event. In my mind the wearer is the quintessential Bibhu woman — someone who has discerning taste and puts together their looks in the most interesting ways, someone who is often under the radar. There is a sense of discretion in the dress, not only in the fabric but also in its structure. It moves but in a restrained manner.