At the age of 19, Naeem Khan left Mumbai to study, and never came back. Now, at 54, this is the celebrity designer’s homecoming, with his first-ever show in India, at the upcoming Lakmé Fashion Week in March. “I’m super excited. It’s a big deal for me because I love India,” gushes the designer.
It’s been ages since you left. Why did your first show here take so long? It’s about the timing. India is now emerging as a global market. Designers from around the world are coming in. I think this is a great time for me to be taking my first step.
Are we going to see an India-centric collection?
It’s the spring line that I showed in the US, but stylised differently. I might also do some saris, giving them a modern spin. I have a show coming up next month, after which I will start work on this one.
Are you aware of the popularity of your designs with Indian celebrities?
I only come to India to visit my parents, so I don’t know much. I know that actors like Sonam Kapoor and Deepika Padukone wear my clothes. But that’s about it. Having said that, Bollywood is now a huge market for us; actors aren’t just wearing saris, they want to wear global designers.
What was it like to dress Michelle Obama?
It was really big for me. She wore my dress to the Inauguration Prayer Service and she looked stunning. It’s amazing to be accepted by a fashion icon, who has access to any designer in the world.
What are you looking forward to during your visit here?
My father ran an embroidery house here, and several socialites and actors were his clients, so I learned a lot from him. This time, I don’t have much time, so I won’t be able to look around at embroideries, fabrics etc, but I’m looking forward to working with Indian models and checking out other designers’ stuff.