Conversation with: Naeem Khan
March 23, 2016
Timeless and iconic, the Naeem Khan fall show was beautiful in more ways than one. We sat down with the designer to discuss his collection and a very special model who stole the show.
1.) You are known for your gorgeous gowns, but the most beautiful moment in your fall show was when you walked the runway with Trinity Faith Moran. Tell us more about that.
My close friend and stylist, Mary Alice Stephenson, is an ambassador for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and was the one who notified me about Trinity’s dream to be in a fashion show. We arranged a time for Trinity and her family to visit my atelier, and I was instantly so touched and inspired by this amazing, beautiful little girl. That evening, we designed a custom dress for her to wear for her runway debut. On the day of the show, she went into hair and makeup like a true model, and we walked the runway together. I was executing a very grand, glamorous show, and this experience provided some important perspective. I am so honored to have been able to make her dream come true—it stands out as my favorite show.
2.) What inspired you to create the piece, especially for her?
The dress had to fall in line with the aesthetic of the other pieces in the collection, so we used the same fabric and decorative elements. Trinity and I actually sketched the gown together in my atelier. It was a fun collaboration.
3.) What elements influenced this collection?
I was influenced by 1920s and 1930s architecture in New York. The collection has many deco elements, which were inspired by the timeless ornamentation on the buildings that make the skyline so distinct. I envisioned the grand dames of New York—powerful and iconic women who perpetuated the vibrant Manhattan social scene. The color palette has a lot metallic, onyx, and crimson—very rich and glamorous to reflect those times.
4.) What is the best compliment a woman has ever given you after wearing one of your pieces?
When I went to the White House and met with the First Lady, she said that if she could wear one designer every day, it would be Naeem Khan. That tops the list!
5.) As a designer and a brand, how did you gravitate toward eveningwear?
My family has been making embroideries for over 100 years, so I always knew that I wanted to design eveningwear. When I worked for Halston, I learned the art of construction and how to look at fabric and determine how it will drape on the body. Since I started my own label, I have merged the designs of my heritage with beautiful tailoring, which has been the hallmark of my brand.
6.) Do you have a favorite piece you have created in your tenure?
An evening gown that we created using gold metal coins and pheasant feathers specifically for the Bergdorf Goodman windows. It was so opulent and spectacular!