"There are maybe five gowns," Naeem Khan
said at his Spring presentation, held once again at his swanky Garment District studio. It's surely a sign of our times that a designer who once sent out a parade consisting almost exclusively of serious eveningwear is branching out. But that's not meant to sound doom-and-gloomy; in fact, it's quite the opposite. Though it followed the ho-hum-sounding path of commercial strategy, Khan's Spring collection was actually his most youthful, fun, and energetic so far. He called the look "punk Raj," and that's pretty right-on, merging as it did his expertise in traditional beading and embroidery with a poufy and girly silhouette, with added tangles of crystal-and-chain jewelry. Think Bow Wow Wow meets Blair Waldorf. Still, the collection shouldn't alienate Khan's core clientele, who, incidentally, aren't jaded and spoiled teens. Most of the looks here might read as dresses but are, in fact, separates—Khan's new frontier—that can be worn umpteen different ways. At times, the way they were worn here bordered on too much, but I guess these days we have to enjoy excesses wherever we can find them.