Teleporting his audience into an electric nightlife inspired by those in Cuba and Italy, Naeem Khan debuted his Spring 2022 collection, titled The Matinée Show, and invited his guests to partake in the old-world glamor typically associated with his elegant designs. “People want an experience,” says Kahn. “When you went to the Tropicana in the 1950s, you were dressed up on the plane, you got into a fabulous car, and in the evening you were in the casino—I want this era. Women need to feel beautiful and this makes them feel happy.” With attendees seated at round tables, ambient lights and live jazz filled Sony Hall as Khan resurfaced the notion of a runway show as an interactive spectacle between the designer, the clothes, and the viewer.
Dressed in a medley of floral and underwater prints that draw inspiration from across the globe, the models escaped the runway to dance amongst the audience before exiting the floor. Although some of the 45 pieces were in tune with contemporary red-carpet wear, Khan stayed true to his familial heritage and signature style with a healthy lineup of caftans among other body-hugging looks that maintain a classy yet sexy edge. His collection acts as a temporal loop with satin ball gowns that adorn tropical patterns, fringe structures that nod to the Art Deco style, glass beads that allude to the 1970s, and glittering embroideries that reflect Indian aesthetics. “It is a menagerie of all those beautiful places that we love, the history of textiles, and of beauty,” he says. His hidden ace, however, was his deployment of hemp—a fabric traditionally reserved for manufacturing gunny bags—as high fashion through a range of tailored suits and pants. “The world is going through a climate crisis and fashion is the biggest polluter,” notes Khan and describes his advent into this new medium as his “new foray into showing you can take a textile like hemp, that is eco-friendly and organic, and make it into these beauties.”
Produced in a diverse color palette ranging from iridescent blacks and earthy browns to ocean blues and canary yellows, Khan channels an escapist theme in his latest presentation, one that forwards the idea of traveling to an island equipped with only a designer wardrobe. In other words, Khan re-entered the fray of New York Fashion Week with a message of vitality. “We are resilient—we are not going to fade away. We are going to survive, make beauty, and live happily together.” Scroll below to discover the highlights of Khan’s Spring 2022 collection.