The renowned designer has gone international, but his heart is still in New York
Launched Bridal: 2013
Expertise: Red carpet evening wear designer brings glamour to bridal in his hometown of New York, and now around the world
Notable Clients: First Lady Michelle Obama, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez
Designer Naeem Khan, known for his intricate beading and elaborate embroideries, brings an understated elegance to his evening and bridal gowns. It’s hard to imagine complex and detailed fabrications with beading and embroidery to ever be described in those terms, but Mr. Khan, with his Mumbai family’s background of textile design, has successfully managed to do just that. This season, after showing his Spring 2017 bridal collection in New York, he debuted it at the Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week where he was the Featured International Designer. Twirl New York spoke to him afterwards to find out why despite being in an international market, he always has the New York bride on his mind.
How long have you lived in New York? Would you consider yourself a New Yorker?
I have lived in New York since I was 19 years old, working as Halston’s apprentice. Those were magical times; working with some of the industry’s most creative and iconic artists such as Martha Graham and Andy Warhol, and being introduced to the city’s vibrant social scene. I definitely consider myself a New Yorker, it is my home and provides constant inspiration.
How has living in New York influenced you as a designer?
In so many aspects; culture, architecture, museums, and art. My Fall 2016 collection is inspired by 1920’s and 30’s buildings in Manhattan, so there is always a facet of the city that influences my work.
Your bridal gowns are named after beautiful places all over the world, are there any that were inspired by New York?
The ‘New York’ gown, from one of my very first bridal collections, is a strapless, fitted silhouette with ivory beading in an art deco motif. The ornamentation on New York skyscrapers inspired the pattern, and the shape is very timeless and chic. The ‘Hamptons’ gown from Spring 2016 is a romantic v-neck gown with linear beading for something more subtle, yet just as lovely.
Your son is getting married soon in New York. Did the location of his wedding influence the design of the wedding gown?
Yes, absolutely. It is the Naeem Khan brand philosophy that the surroundings should influence the design of the dress.
How would you describe the New York bride? How is she different from brides around the world?
New York is multicultural, and the styles are varied. One bride might want a super glamorous look, and then another might envision something more minimal. The commonality is that they are all fashion forward.
What is your favorite venue for weddings in New York?
The Bronx Botanical Gardens, where my son Shariq is getting married.
How was showing your bridal collection in Barcelona different from showing in New York?
It was my first time showing my bridal collection in Barcelona, so it was exciting to see how the collection was embraced in Europe. Both cities are lively and vibrant, and draw a worldly crowd.