Beyoncé's stylist, Ty Hunter, sat in the front row today at Naeem Khan's presentation and probably saw plenty of options for his most famous client. The collection was inspired by showgirls of another era, said Khan backstage before the show, citing Liza Minnelli in Cabaret, with a bit of Louise Brooks thrown in. "I took the sex from Cabaret," said Khan, "but made it elegant." It seems the recent advent of Khan's bridal line—which he said has been picked up by eighty stores over a few short months—has freed the designer to venture into sultrier territory with his
ready-to-wear. Khan worked with Halston back when Halston made costumes for Minnelli, and one could easily imagine the star in her dressing room wearing the gold-piped satin evening coat that opened the show. Soon enough, the looks moved from the boudoir to the red carpet, by way of 24-karat filigree embroidery on heavy crepe sheaths and a pleated gold lamé halter gown that looked very Halston indeed. Beading was prominent and appeared in delicate, Deco lines of gold, black, and even lilac, as well as silver-and-gold chevron stripes of flapper-style fringe. One of the most beautiful gowns—a red-carpet-ready three-quarter-sleeve column covered in honeycombed-gold bugle beads—employed chunkier crystal trim that sparkled at the neck, waistline, and cuffs. Khan loves couture techniques, and on a few special pieces he applied lipstick-red hand-shirred chiffon and engineered embroidery to great effect. Also impressive in the hand-detailing department: leopard spots created entirely of stacked sequins. Those covered the bodices of a few dresses with skirts in variegated tones of gold, chocolate, cream, and black ostrich feathers—all hand-dyed to match the animal spots, of course. It was hard to picture Liza or Louise taking the stage in one of those sequined, feathered, leopard-spotted numbers. But Beyoncé? No problem.