After the show, with Naeem Khan

Friday, May 20th 2016

Always a highlight on our bridal week calendar, Naeem Khan is one of those designers with whom we bond over a mutual distrust of the conventional ‘bridal industry’, a fellow creative who resisted joining it for a very long time. Disarmingly honest, unexpectedly hilarious and impossibly down to earth, we sat with the talented designer post-show to talk inspiration, embroidery and the creative process behind the incredible collection we’d just witnessed. Read on (the parts we could publish, anyway!) for an insight into the luminary behind these gowns. 

The Lane: After days of back to back bridal week shows we can't help but feel that while there are beautfiul pieces, a lot of the collections start to feel the same.  A split second here backstage and we're completely transported and inspired. What you create is art, not bridal and it's this refreshing take on weddings that we feel so closely connected to as well... 

Naeem Khan: Thank you. You know what I do, I never look at anybody else’s work…

TL: We are the same when it comes to bridal publications, I couldn't tell you the last time I read a bridal magazine. I think it's important to have a fresh perspective.

NK: Yes, if I look, it’s going to taint my mind. We don’t look at anything, we dream things…and we do it because we love it. 

TL: It absolutely shows. It’s coming from a pure place.

NK: Yeah, I mean it’s an obsession 

TL: And I’m a big believer that if you do things from that pure place, and you put your heart and soul into your work, naturally success and sales will follow.

NK: When I left India, my mother's last words were (because I come from a family and history of artists) ‘never follow money, always follow your heart. Dream and obsess and make your art, and one day you will be rich. It might take you many years but one day you will be. Don’t worry about money’. And I follow that advice here, and I just keep making beautiful things and I think if you are classy and amazing and fabulous then you buy my dresses, otherwise you can buy those things that are stuck on...

TL: And I have to say, for our particular reader, which is a very niche audience, what you're creating is exactly what they’re asking for, and it's a spin on bridal very rarely offered... 

NK: I mean you think of it, a global woman…she’s wearing a kaftan, she’s wearing a jumpsuit…I mean to me, I want to see those kinds of women, you know cool, modern women making a statement and it’s available these days, it’s not like you have to go to Paris to get Couture…you can get it in a store in America

TL: Your collection is so incredibly worldly, inspired by so many cultures and so many eras, there’s Edwardian, there’s a little Gatsby in there, there was a little modern…

NK: Yes I mean the way I designed this collection was I’ve got women across the world, you go to The Middle East, you go to Japan…I’ve got all these different women looking for different things, but I’m not just thinking of them and saying ‘design me something like this’ what I’m saying is, each dress has a story…and how can you not find something for yourself in this! That’s the idea, make it beautiful and make each one a story…

TL: Yet there's a thread of commonality throughout the collection. A gypset inspired vibe... 

NK: But it ties in…even the colours, you look at all the pinks and the lilacs, they’re so beautiful and they all tie in together, and then I kept overlapping a lot of those things with tulle, white and ivory together, so it really comes out like somebody washed you with watercolours.

TL: So tell me one of the highlights, or a favourite memory you have of creating this collection?

NK: Oh my god, I mean there’s a few…it’s just not one! This first dress, with the thread work, that technique of making those things are from one of my mother's saris, and to me, when I was making it, to me family is so important and that is part of the history for me and so we took that idea, we continued to play with colours. Then the kaftan as an example of how do you make a bride look cool…and so the kaftan was crazy important and that sleeve, I just felt that you know it tells a story, it’s English and Edwardian, something cool, but if you look at the embroidery on it, it’s all Indian. The gypsies come from India you know...

TL: The most challenging thing? 

NK: No challenges…I mean I’ve been doing this for so many years, it comes as second nature to me. I mean there have been times when I’ve put collections together in one week….

TL: Yeah I think it was the last one, wasn’t it…when you flew your team over to India last minute?

NK: Yes, but you know having the challenge is actually finding the right people to be around you, because if you have negative energy or energies that can grate on you then it becomes a nightmare, that’s why all the people around me are totally hand chosen, so I keep a great atmosphere in my office…

TL: It feels like that backstage too, it feels really relaxed compared to so many of the other designers. And what I love is there seems to be no heirarchy between yourself or any of your team... 

NK: Yeah we all sit down on the floor and we work together, and we draw together and it’s like when you go to school and you’re doing arts and crafts with your other fellow kids…

TL: That’s so fun! 

NK: It’s so fun! And we have lunches together…I’ll cook, I predominantly cook in the office almost every other day, and all of us eat together. I think fashion is you know…you can take it as an industry but because we do it as an art...if you keep it as all of us friends, making beautiful things, it shows in the collection, instead of saying ‘ok we’re making this to sell, and now 30 pieces sold, and 150 of this’….we don’t do any of that, we just make it and we’ll say ‘ok, we have to be intelligent now, we have to make it fabulous’ and we’ll be successful with that…

TL: It’s like that saying ‘over planning kills magic’. 

LOHO Opens in West Hollywood

Saturday, April 30th 2016

Already one of the hottest destinations in bridal, the arrival of the second (highly anticipated) Loho Bride boutique, proved an event and an evening, not to be missed. Opening its doors in chic West Hollywood, LA brides finally have somewhere suitably luxe yet relaxed, in which to seek out their perfect gown, an edit and a space befitting that California bride vibe. 

Hosted by Loho’s inimitable Christy (and styled by The LANE), we shared the night with some of our favourite designers and their gowns, including Rime Arodaky, Bo & Luca, Odylyne The Ceremony and Houghton NYC. Moving between decadently dark blooms and the scent of Lumira candles, models mingled while tunes and cocktails were mixed in the courtyard. Catered by Crossroads Kitchen (who knew vegan cheese was so delicious!?) and documented by photographer extraordinaire Greg Finck, we want to go back and relive this magical night all over again…

Credits: Styling - The LANE / Photography - Greg Finck / Florals - Eothen / Bar - Consort Design LA / Catering - Crossroads Kitchen / Candles - Atelier Lumira.

Naeem Khan Bridal Spring 2017.

Sunday, April 17th 2016

Often marking the end of an inevitably huge week, arriving at Naeem Khan’s studio for the final show on the bridal week calendar always feels a little like saving the best until last…this season proving no exception! Pulling inspiration from every corner of the globe for Spring 17, the designer described this collection as a celebration of originality, and ‘thinking outside of the box’. 

Kaftans, sequins, gypsy embroidery, and a finale gown in black, we found ourselves in the midst of a collection unlike anything we’d ever seen. Not least of all, because the detail and technique involved in each piece was so unbelievably exquisite, it felt more akin to art. Only entirely wearable. And as their creator, there’s this beautiful sense when talking to Naeem, of someone who is so appreciative of this craftsmanship, of the work involved in bringing each piece to life, his vision for each gown translated and realised through a team of artisans, each weaving their magic. Stepping backstage this year was absolutely stepping outside of the box - and stepping into another world, witnessing first hand a collection that surprised and moved you, exactly as art should. 

See the full runway show on the style guide.

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