That graceful insect, he said backstage on Wednesday, inspired his Spring 2013 collection, in which he embellished both daywear and evening gowns alike with intricate cutouts, filigree-inspired prints, appliques and embroidery.
For daytime, a sleeveless white top had "drapes," an almost winglike effect. It was paired with a steel-colored pencil skirt. An onyx leather dress was enhanced by intricate laser cutouts. A sea green and sand-colored suede dress with silk inserts was one of the most wearable daytime looks.
But the prettiest short dress came in a dusty rose, with a hand-pleated chiffon skirt that seemed to float along the runway. The look returned later in longer form, and equally romantic — a rose lace chiffon strapless gown with a hand-pleated skirt.
Some of the embellished gowns seemed a bit too busy. But a chartreuse and sand organza gown with a hand-pleated skirt made a wonderfully striking impression: the effect was that of a swirling breeze enveloping the model as she glided down the runway.
In addition to the luna moth, Mohapatra said he was influenced by the tradition of silver filigree work in his home state of Orissa, in India.
And as for that moth, the designer said it was the metamorphosis it goes through in its short life (it lives for only a week) that inspired him.
"It's like the woman — she is constantly evolving," he said.