September 10, 2008
A quick scan of the invocations in Naeem Khan's show notesthe late sixties crossed with icons of eccentricity Diana Vreeland, Loulou de la Falaise, and Tina Chow, all transported to the Orientwas clue enough that what followed would be a riot of exotic excess. Khan didn't turn up the volume all at once; instead he started off uncharacteristically minimal with an asymmetrical white jersey gown with a sari-inspired drape. But soon enough we were neck deep in densely colorful cherry blossom and mythic phoenix embroideries, sizzling sequins, and candy-colored chinoiserie jacquards, some doubling up on the drama factor with voluminous portrait collars and fat origami pleating. Khan occasionally came up for air with flowing jewel-toned satin gowns, some with a focused chunk of blingy crystal beadingthey were still look-at-me dresses, but sans the madness. Though it's often been said that executing simplicity is what's difficult, going over-the-top also requires a deft handwhich some of Khan's pieces lacked. Yes, too much good taste can be boring, as Vreeland famously said, but Khan's big-spending clientele presumably want people to stare for the right reasons.