Naeem Khan Ready To Wear Spring Summer 2013 New York

Thanks in no small part to Michelle Obama, Naeem Khan was thrust even farther into the international spotlight. How to capitalize on that new influx of potential clients? Expand into daywear and separates. From the first look—a black and white rose print organza cocktail dress—one knew that a new chapter had begun. “I purposefully wanted to take my night aesthetic and bring it into daytime,” he said backstage. “But these aren’t clothes for going food shopping; they’re for more important things. Like lunch.”

Loose hints of Wallis Simpson coupled with his own travels inspired Khan for spring, whose focus featured such elements as Moroccan art, geometric patterns and metalwork, as well as floral imagery, burning desert sunsets and the crashing ocean surf. Save for some all-together-too-simple pieces (a quilted silk trench worn with slim white cotton sateen pants could easily have been edited out), the new additions were a breath of fresh air. “Now we’re taking it to a wider audience,” said Khan.

For Khan loyalists, however, there was plenty to love—and order at his next trunk show. Caftans in rich, bright shades of marigold, coral and blue wafted down the runway, each boasting the designer’s trademark floral medallion and silver metallic beading. The aesthetic for evening continued to be cleaner than in seasons past—in large part due to the lighter fabrics but also to a noticeable restraint of the hand. Quick to overwhelm became welcome with open arms. A navy floral beaded cut-out column gown with chiffon cape was spectacular. It’s nice to see Khan explore the non-black tie pursuits of his fabulous clientele.

- Jim Shi