In the spirit of The Magical Splendor Gala that will take place this Saturday, January 14th at the home of Alfy and Raysa Fanjul, we invite you to take a look back at our interview with esteemed fashion designer Naeem Khan, who returns as the guest of honor again this year, showcasing his Spring/ Summer 2017 ready-to-wear collection. The Magic Splendor Gala is primarily a fundraising event to benefit the social and educational projects of the Fundación MIR. The event also includes a golf tournament earlier in the day at the La Romana Country Club, and a “Mystery Shopping Wall” at Casa Grande.
Ms. Lian Fanjul de Azqueta, President of the Fundación MIR, looks forward to the upcoming occasion, noting: “I am grateful for the solidarity of my brother Alfy and his wife Raysa, always so willing to advance our foundation. It will truly be a magical night, which will allow us to continue helping our school’s children.”
This interview first appeared in our sister publication, CasaLife magazine in the Spring of 2016:
Spellbinding, enchanting, glamorous – all words used to describe the exquisite designs created by fashion magnate, Naeem Khan. This year’s Magical Splendor Gala for the Fundación MIR featured a spectacular fashion show starring the New York based designer’s most recent collection, much to the delight of the fortunate “fashionistas” in attendance. Born in Mumbai, Khan received an early education in the ins and outs of the industry, studying closely under his father and grandfather in their prominent apparel buisness in India. Later, in his teens, he was taken under the wing of visionary and iconic clothing designer of the 70s, Roy Halston Frowick (That’s Mr. Halston to you) and the rest, as they say is history. Today, Naeem Khan maintains a youthful energy and curiosity about international cultures that are both apparent in the spirit and magnetism of his clothing. Perhaps this is the secret to his success? CasaLife sat down with the dynamic Khan to discuss fashion, Frida Kahlo and his work with Fundación MIR.
How did growing up in India shape the designer you are today?
Tremendously. You grow up seeing the most intricate work. Gold threads being spun. 24 karat gold sequins cut by hand, silk threads that are split in half to create shades of flowers, and says spent exploring different techniques. I learned from my father and grandfather how to restructure fabric and colors. They had no inhibitions. They would mix purple with yellow, and green with blue… Anything went in India—that taught me not to be afraid of colors.
Can you elaborate on your work with Halston and what you did under the designer?
With him, fashion was not just about designing clothes, it was about how you interact with the people who buy your clothes. He introduced me to America; designing things with Martha Graham, working with Liza Minnelli for her shows, and learning how to draw with Andy Warhol. At that time, thank God I didn’t know who these important people were so it didn’t jade me! I just loved that life. Learning from him was phenomenal.
Your latest collection was inspired by Frida Kahlo?
Frida is such an incredible character. I love her madness, her beauty, and how she decorated herself. When I went to her museum -her home- I had chills. She is so inspirational to me, because you cannot let anybody conduct your life, or dictate how you should be.
Do you have a signature look?
Yes. It’s about shine, glamour, and beautiful embroideries. It’s very classic. I don’t want to use the word ‘opulence’, but it is opulent, in a sophisticated way. This is what Halston was very good at—our clients included Babe Paley, Katharine Graham, or Barbara Bush. All these people would come to us for real clothes.
You’ve revolutionized Bridal wear…
I caught the bridal business sleeping; they were all going around in circles making the same kind of stuff. I decided that I didn’t want to do anything that everybody else was doing. I designed my collection naming each dress after the city it was inspired from. That was such a big hit now everything is copying it… that’s fashion. My first show was so packed that the doors had to be left open. It was immediately in about 60 stores, now we are in close to 110 across the world: Singapore, Japan, Korea, we are everywhere, and it’s very high end.
How did you come to be involved with Fundación MIR and why is it important to you?
Coming from India, charity is a big part of your existence; in my family, we give every year to charity. So to me, causes like this are important. Last night [at the Magical Splendor Gala], I gave away four dresses; one at the end which nobody knows about. And to think of it, $12,000 per dress is almost $50,000 dollars, that’s two classrooms for the community’s kids!
The 2017 Magical Splendor Gala will be presented by the master of ceremonies Renata Soñé, and include music by DJ Korduroy and the orchestra, La Boba Band. Get excited for Naeem Khan’s Spring/ Summer 2017 ready-to-wear collection with a look at these backstage photos from his show at New York Fashion Week:
When: Saturday, January 14, 2017
What: Golf Tournament, 1:00 pm at La Romana Country Club; Dinner, Dance and Fashion Show, 8:00 pm at Casa Grande
RSVP: 561-366-5092 (USA); 809-523-8270 (DR); or email [email protected]