City Pulse

By Kelly Hushin

Exotic is hardly an adequate word to describe Naeem Khan’s Spring 2011 collection, which showed at the Stage at Lincoln Center on September 16th to a full-house crowd sprinkled with the likes of Perrey Reeves and Robert Verdi. The over-the-top glam showcased on his runway has a fan following among the rich and famous. That’s no wonder as every piece is ornate, bordering on ostentatious, but with just enough restraint not to be.

Perrey Reeves on the runway at Naeem Khan

Reeves and many other front and second row guests were properly adorned in evening wear as sparkling as the frocks gracing the models strutting down the runway to spicy fresh, modernized Spanish music. There was a definitive color story: it started with bold, bright and flowing dresses ala luxe beach cover-ups-turned-evening-wear; transitioned to more structured everyday wear like skirts and tops which popped either with a bright color or an array of embellishments; and ended with a return to more elaborate evening gowns splashed with glitter and sparkles in endlessly elegant patterns showcasing the highest level of construction craftsmanship. Khan’s looks for spring are examples of ambitious design where high concept matches near-perfect execution.

Accessories were bold, hinting toward tribal, designed by Khan’s wife, Ranjana. Makeup by MAC, keyed by Kristin Gallegos, was due-like and shimmering, on a canvas of highly-tanned skin. “We tanned them at least two shades darker with MAC Face and Body,” said Gallegos. The look was inspired by 90s Versace in Miami with pops of color on the skin such as white in the corners of the eye. Colors used were from MAC’s new collection launching in spring called Mega Metals. Gallegos used a heavy dose of the collection’s colors Centre Stage on the lid, and Dalliance for the brow highlight. A MAC classic, Pearl Cream, was used as a highlighter around the face.

Photo courtesy of Ann Lawlor

Nails were understated but purposeful. The shade was custom-mixed for the show by Pattie Yankee, Head of Product Development and Education for Dashing Diva, the largest manufacturer of artificial nails and producer of a metallic alternative to Minx that’s affordable and completely camouflages imperfections. Yankee’s nail work, which started about 23 years ago when she moved from being a dancer to a nail tech after realizing her uncanny knack for the art, brings her clients like Rachel Ray (a regular), Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian. Yankee described Khan’s Spring 2011 collection in three words: ethnic, bejeweled and elaborate. The color she mixed for the show was 50 percent Live Nude Girls and 50 percent East Hampton Estate, two fleshy colors that when mixed together make a bone color that complemented Khan’s bold clothing and accessories.

Photo courtesy of Ann Lawlor

Bumble and Bumble headed up the hair department for the show, as they did for more than 35 shows throughout NYFW Spring 2011. The hair was big and loud but not stiff; Laurent Philippon wanted it to “move” as the girls walked down the runway, so he used products like Bumble and Bumble’s Does it All Styling Spray for building and Spray de Mode for finishing. He met with Khan to talk about the hair concept and decided that he did not want to lose the powerful woman he created last season, but only to modify her to fit this collection. “I wanted to keep that woman,” said Philippon. “She’s a James Bond power girl with a flavor of the 60s.”

Whatever that woman is Mr. Philippon, we like her.

Photo courtesy of Ann Lawlor

Photo courtesy of Ann Lawlor

Originally published September 2010
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