You can tell it's a Naeem Khan show by the glamorous detritus—ostrich feathers, sequins, jet-black beads—that decorates the catwalk by the finale. Still, Khan worked a relatively subtle Silk Road theme this season. The other, more potent influence was his customer. "I thought about the women who wear my clothes," he said backstage before the show. "They are powerful."

These were no mincing dresses. Laser-cut, patent-leather flowers dotted with sequins had been sewn by hand onto the red satin number that opened the show. Ditto the ostrich feathers individually attached to tulle on several dresses. It made for gorgeous, fluffy poufs on skirts and bodices; in one instance, an entire dress appeared to be floating. A luxe and louche gold caftan elicited applause, but it was a cap-sleeve, open-back gown coated in silver paillettes that would draw raves on the red carpet. If it hasn't been claimed yet for the imminent Academy Awards, it will surely be scooped up soon.