It started with a dot,” Naeem Khan said backstage after his opulent show (which boasted the week’s best celeb, Matt Damon, in the front row). By “a dot” Khan meant a bindi—the decorative mark or jewel worn by Indian women to ward off evil or signify marriage—which he co-opted as the jumping-off point for an exploration of Indian body art.
Using evening coats and gowns in a palette of taupe, sand, and black as stand-ins for actual skin, Khan beaded, threaded, and appliquéd the collection’s pieces with geometric prints and classic Indian paisleys. The embellishments followed the garments’ seams or played elegantly off the body’s lines and curves. They created allover prints that looked beautifully organic. Where there wasn’t pattern, there was texture. A black pouf of ostrich feathers made for a buoyant skirt on a cocktail dress with a top made of black, ivory, and silver beads. Another—a breezy, dropped-waist dress in silk faille—was decorated with both abstract felt appliqués and small mirrored discs.