Go big or stay home. That seems to be the mantra of Naeem Khan, whose spring 2016 collection includes a wide array of colorful ball gowns with voluminous skirts guaranteed to attract attention.
While many designers are toning down their looks, Khan and Marchesa's Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig have veered from the pack with gorgeous entrance-making gowns that are sure to please socialites on the Texas charity circuit. Khan already has attracted a following in the Lone Star State as the heir apparent to Oscar de la Renta in creating the kinds of ornate gowns that Texas women want to wear to make an impression.
Khan's bright collection — there's hardly a dark-hue look in the entire bunch — is based on the sun-drenched gardens in the south of France, as well as the azure waters of Capri and the soft palette of the French Impressionists, the designer said in his program notes at New York Fashion Week. He also imagined the kinds of glamorous clothes that '50s and '60s icons like Sophia Loren, Grace Kelly, Brigitte Bardot, and Jackie Kennedy might wear on vacation, updated in a modern way.
He also has current clients who travel the world in mind, with embroidered caftans in designs reminiscent of his native India, sparkly jumpsuits in rainbow colors, fringed cocktail dresses, and a paisley-embroidered coat with jeweled cuff over a matching romper that led off his fashion week show. Khan's customer likes to dress up even when she dresses down.
But it's the evening gowns that remain the designer's strength. He offers close-to-the-body gowns in bright shades such as bougainvillea red and lemon yellow; a bias-cut pink satin has a crystal halter necklace that provides all the jewelry needed. Other gowns are heavily embellished with intricate beading and basket-weave sequins in a multitude of colors.
But the real stars are the breathtaking taffeta and gazar ball gowns in shades of lilac, yellow, red, and pink ombre that closed the show. It's a different silhouette from what Khan normally creates, with gowns that flare out at the waist into full-blown hoop skirts, but it's a look that packs an extra punch.
And the gowns also come with pockets. So practical.