Naeem Khan, the India-born American fashion icon who is known for being one of US First Lady Michelle Obama’s favourite designers, is set to make his “homecoming”. The 54-year-old designer, who will showcase at the Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai in March, says, “I was just waiting for the right time for it to happen. Showing in my country will be extremely special — it’s like homecoming for me.”
US President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrive to dance together at an Inaugural Ball at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, during the 57th Presidential Inauguration. AP Photo
Khan’s creations, famous for their exquisite embellishments and layered silhouettes, have been worn, both by international stars such as Beyonce, Eva Longoria, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, and desi stars such as Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif. The front row faces at his shows have included the likes of Matt Damon and Padma Lakshmi.
We ask him for his celeb favourites. “It’s very difficult to choose but I am biased towards the beautiful Bollywood stars. People like Sonam (Kapoor) have been really kind.”
About Michelle Obama, who has worn his designs numerous times, including at a recent outing in an appliqué ensemble for the National Prayer Service, Khan says, “I felt like I was the chosen one. She had so many American designers to choose from, but she decided on me. I can’t tell how grateful I am.” What is his take on Indian designers? “Embroidery is big in India, and understandably so. Indian designers do it beautifully, they inspire me.” The west, Khan says, is now discovering how culturally rich Indian fashion is. “Indian fashion and techniques are now becoming mainstream for the rest of the world,” he says.
MORE ABOUT NAEEM KHAN
Grew Up in: Mumbai
Lives In: New York
CELEB CLIENTS: Michelle Obama, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Kate Beckinsale, Taylor Swift, Deepika Padukone, Katrina Kaif, Sonam Kapoor
Films Designed For: Dreamgirls, Sex and the City
Known For: Gilded gowns, intricate hand work
Michelle Obama’s Naeem connection
While the first lady of the US has worn Khan’s designs on many occasions, her champagne coloured gown during her 2009 visit to India has been the critics’ favourite. She wore it to the state dinner where PM Manmohan Singh and wife Gursharan Kaur were guests. Michelle had added a desi twist by wearing bangles.