Naeem Khan’s name has been cropping up frequently of late because Ewan McGregor shadowed Khan, a Halston alum, in preparation for his leading role in the Netflix docuseries. Having been there, done that, for resort Khan decided to turn his attention back to his own life in fashion. “Making sure that you remain true to what you do is important to me,” he said.
The silver pieces in this collection are made of the real thing and have a connection to Khan’s memories of visiting factories as a boy with his grandfather and seeing sequins created one-by-one by hand from silver and gold. Khan used this metallic bling on several pieces including a dress with a similar shape to the one he created for Mrs. Obama when she and the President welcomed the Prime Minister and First Lady of India to the White House.
The one Halston-era bit of nostalgia doesn’t read as one. The floral on a flouncy black and white caftan is akin to one Khan drew in his Halston days when Andy Warhol was in the studio. “I was drawing these flowers for Halston because I was making the embroidery designs [for] him,” Khan recalls, “and Warhol said, ‘Let me show you how to draw.’ So he and I sat down, because he had done the poppies…. So these are my poppies that he and I had drawn; different, but similar.”
Whereas Warhol’s silkscreens register things in a way that’s intentionally a bit off, with Khan’s designs what you see is what you get: straight-up evening glamour. The designer is known for making up traditional silhouettes in extraordinary fabrics and with exquisite surface decoration. Among the standout pieces in this determinedly “maximalist” and made-to-party collection were actually the jumpsuits. There’s one in a knockout red, and a metallic number with a detachable apron skirt, a new-old piece that popped up at the last round of couture shows.
Also of note is a pretty three-quarter-length brocade dress with a corset top and peplum accenting a fuller skirt. It carries a whiff of 1950s haute couture, yet it’s also sort of Carrie Bradshaw—and very fresh. The peek it gives of the lower leg speaks to ease of motion and getting back into the action. Plus there’s an added bonus, according to Khan. “I mean, everybody has great ankles,” the designer said. “I find ankles are so sexy.”