Naeem Khan: Embellished

Image of Naeem Khan: Embellished
Release Date: 
October 5, 2020
Reviewed by: 

To say that Naeem Khan is a man of the cloth is an understatement and not to be confused with the usual meaning of the phrase. He is a designer’s designer who knows his way around any piece of cloth from the simplest silk to the most heavily embroidered and embellished chiffon or duchess satin. Most fashionphiles equate him with his bead work and embroidery, and that is something that Naeem Khan: Embellished dispels in a heartbeat and when seeing the clothes up close and personal.

This monograph might be considered the ultimate coffee table book for those who love glamour, but it is not just the visuals that tell the story. His oeuvre is extraordinary in every way, and this reader has been fortunate enough to attend several of his shows and attest to the fact that he is not just a designer of beaded dresses, he is a tailor, a dress maker, a creator, an innovator, and at this point within the fashion continuum he is one of a kind.

Without question it is his beadwork and embroidery that put him on the map as well as his training and affiliation with Halston. The educated eye of the reader will be able to see a skillset that stretches far beyond the obvious aspects for which he is most well-known. There is a small amount of text that really must be read to understand the man, his inspirations, and how he came to be who he is today. There is a great warmth and a feeling of familial respect that is rarely exuded in books of this genre; if you are looking for the dishy side of fashion, you will not find it here.

Khan has dressed a literal who’s who of celebrities whether from the world of film, music, politics, dance, or social standing, and there are photos to prove it. There are no salacious stories about any of them, but there are testimonials from his clients who speak not only of the man but most importantly about how his clothes make them feel when they are on the body.

The savvy fashionphile knows that these are the clothes that really never go out of style and remain in one’s wardrobe for possibly generations to be handed down from mother to daughter. In these pandemic times, the clothes might seem out of sync, but what the book elicits is a sense of joy and wonder when you take the time to examine the craftsmanship, the fantasy, the colors, and grandeur of them. One might go so far as to say that Naeem picked up where Bob Mackie left off as anyone who knows anything about beaded clothes knows that a designer of this caliber has to be somewhat of an architect, artist as well as dress designer. It takes an incredible skillset to “build” a garment that can support this kind of workmanship and remain comfortable and secure once on the body

Lastly, the reader will come to realize that Khan is not a Johnny one note as he is able to more than successfully design clothes without a bead or with minimal embroidery. Khan possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of decorations and seaming that very few can hold a candle to—especially among the current crop of fashion designers.