It goes without saying that Naeem Khan knows his way around a gorgeous gown. Mumbai native Khan fused his technical tutelage under renowned American designer Halston with his family’s design background to cultivate an aesthetic that is equal parts refined, sophisticated, and engaging. His admirers cement Khan’s reputation as a man at the pinnacle of his craft; his A-list clientele includes Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Kate Middleton, and Michelle Obama.
A tribute to legendary prima ballerina Anna Pavlova, Khan’s collection unfolded much like Pavlova’s iconic performance of “The Dying Swan”: beautiful, mesmerizing, and a true tour de force of intricate technical skill. Khan’s woman clearly has a bold confidence and self-assured ownership of any room that she walks into, with a healthy flair for the dramatic and unabashed embrace of sex appeal. The runway effortlessly glided from fun fringe and fresh florals to plunging V-necks and see-through evening apparel. If the eternal question posed to every designer is “where is your woman going?” the answer here seems to be “to a swanky party…with an after party in mind, if her date plays their cards right.”
Far from being discordant, the wide variety of aesthetics embodied by the collection celebrates the many nuances of a woman’s personality and taste. Who doesn’t want to throw on a ’50s tea-length dress for a sweet and ethereal effect during the day and then transition to something sleeker and edgier by night? The color palette is also incredibly compelling, with Khan favoring bright yellows and teals. Wherever you would be going in one of these dresses, you would certainly be the center of attention and relishing every second of it.
One of our favorite pieces had to be the opaque gown featuring tiers of silky tassels. The fabric moved beautifully and granted the model an almost angelic quality. Simultaneously, it was still practical for real-world wear and perfect for any formal occasion. Also notable was the final look, a bridal-inspired piece that seemed to float across the runway with ease. Flattering, sexy, and a total showstopper.
Khan’s designs defy conventional categorization with mesmerizing results. In contrast to other runway shows, his aesthetic playfully and perhaps intentionally skirts a universal narrative. He could be offering a winking suggestion that the viewer can embody any look they want and do so with pride. One thing is for sure: much like his muse Pavlova, his collection keeps us on our toes.
For more information, visit www.naeemkhan.com.
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Naeem Khan SS18 Collection: Photographs courtesy of George Chinsee/WhoWhatWear