Born in Cumbala Hills of Mumbai, Naeem Khan is a New York based designer whose designs have been donned by people like Eva Longoria, Michelle Obama, Princess Aga Khan, Leighton Meester, Beyonce and Brooke Shields. The designer is currently married to model turned jewelry designer Ranjana Khan. Khan’s designs have also taken over the silver screen by storm with his designs spotted on shows like Sex and the City and Dream Girls.
Naeem’s undying love for clothes comes from his grandfather Shamsuddin Khan who was in the embroidery business in the early 1930s making clothes for the member of India’s royal families. Khan’s career started in New York when his parents took notice of his love for clothes and encouraged him to pursue a career in fashion design. He went to New York to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology but never made it through there. However, it wasn’t over for Naeem Khan. He got lucky when he went to the US along with his father to a meeting with Halston about exporting embroidery. Naeem instantly felt a connection with Halston and the legendary fashion designer asked Khan if he’d like to work with him. Overjoyed, Khan let go of his plans to study at a fashion school and accepted the offer right away and then there was no looking back for him ever since then. It was like a dream come true for the twenty year old Khan when he became an apprentice for Halston.
During his time with Halston, he learned how to cut, mould, manipulate and drape the fabric into a masterpiece along with Elizabeth Taylor, Andy Warhol, Liza Minnelli and Truman Capote. The designer truly believes that these individuals shaped him into the seasoned fashion designer that he is today. Minnelli also taught him how to design costumes for theatre. Later, he got a chance to work with the iconic artist Andy Warhol who taught him how to conceptualize ideas and think out of the box. Warhol also taught Naeem how to draw his world famous signature poppies.
After gaining hands on experience from legendary designers like Minnelli, Warhol and Halston; Naeem Khan launched his first eponymous label in 2003. Known for his sophisticated red carpet gowns made from handmade fabric, the designer has gained praise from around the globe for his intricately detailed, ornate and impeccably cut designs. Naeem Khan’s collection was showcased on the runways of Olympus Fashion Week in 2005. Soon specialty stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Harrods started selling his collections. Today, Khan’s collections are sold at over a hundred giant department and specialty stores all around the world. In 2008, the Indian born fashion designer was inducted as a member of the CFDA.
In October 2009, Naeem’s collection for HSN was launched by the name, TIMELESS by Naeem Khan. The collection was so successful that it was sold out moments after it was launched. The immensely successful line consists of separates and cocktail dress sold exclusively by HSN. An extension to the line was also launched in November 2011 called the Tissavel Faux Fur Line which included vests, scarves, coats and hats.
It is also interesting to note that Naeem Khan’s first love may be designing clothes but he loves cooking with his wife equally as much. That’s because, in his opinion, creating clothes and cooking is synonymous. The ingredients at disposal may be the same but the end result is completely unique.