2011 September 16
Spring 2012: Naaem Khan, Bill Blass, Gemma Kahng
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(NEW YORK) Naeem Khan
What do famed costumer Edith Head and The Barefoot Contessa’s Ava Gardner have in common? Naeem Khan’s sophisticated Spring collection for starters. An amalgamation of prints took shape on a gown-heavy lineup from A-line party frocks to ballooning ballgowns. There were linear column dresses and graphic caftans in black and silver; floral off-the-shoulder numbers and glitzy feather beaded standouts with side cutouts and low backs. A hot pink taffeta ballgown skirt and tasseled bodice spoke to Khan's highbrow glam gals while the rose gold abstraction mini dress with a plunging front V glanced toward a younger, fresher client. All in all, Khan showed a less directional collection than in season's past, but one that will still catch the gleaming gaze of his high-profile clientele.
Brilliantly executed reds married maritime intonations—gold buttons and captain-worthy cuff embroidery, alongside B&W stripes and the label’s double-B initials buried in a rope-and-anchor insignia. Simple, chic black or white strappy sandals kept things grounded. Billowing robes sized for grandpa, blanketed in black and white vertical stripes, mingled with maritime motif-covered baseball caps and bandeau bras, the latter two elements of which appeared, often in tandem, in many looks. But strip away the flashy, seafaring accessories, and there were staple-worthy basics courtesy of the brand’s creative director, Jeffrey Monteiro—black or white suiting separates with contrastive piping that would surely get a lot of rotation in one’s closet. After a couple more strokes of well-executed red, things got a little dotty, literally, before ending with a splash of beaded bright yellow. The plush Union Club setting, and a carpet as runway dappled with a stone-vased floral arrangement, made for pedigree-emphasizing ambiance befitting the vibe of the latest Blass output.
After catapulting to insta-stardom in the '90s, with sell-out collections at all the major department stores, Gemma Kahng dropped off the map following a number of decision-making setbacks. Now, with the help of Joe Zee, the Koran-born designer is getting her second chance on the creative director’s hit TV show, All on the Line. Her Fall collection was picked up by Kirna Zabete and Spring has all the promise one would expect from the industry vet. Her 18 highly-curated, black and white looks were presented in a low-key presentation. Gone were the '90s power suits and menswear-inspired separates that raked in $6 million per year for the designer. In its place? Demure lace dresses, outfitted with layers of ultra-fem ruffles and frills and topped off with lingerie-esque briefs and structural blazers, that have top notch buyers vying for first dibs.