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Naeem Khan


When First Lady Michelle Obama chose to wear gowns by another designer for her husband’s second inaugural, Naeem Khan was gracious. “I’m deeper than that,” said the Indian-born designer, in town recently for the Globe Guilders’ “Celebrating Couture” fashion show, presented in partnership with Neiman Marcus. “I’m in it for the long haul.” Khan, whose father and grandfather fashioned exquisite, embellished clothing for royalty in India, is keenly aware of this legacy of “time and technique.” His sons, both in their 20s, are now involved in the family business, which Khan dreams of making a time-tested global brand. “It’s not about selling clothes,” he told a crowd gathered for a patron party at the Rancho Santa Fe home of art collectors Iris and Matthew Strauss. “It’s about making art.” Many women in attendance were wearing Khan’s designs, including Valerie Cooper, in a beaded silk georgette tunic, and Evva Fenison, in a sheath inspired by a coral reef. Karen Cohn wore a water-colored, wave-patterned dress with shoes embellished with pearls, while Collette Royston’s short black jacket was reminiscent of a matador’s bolero. Hostess Iris Strauss wore Khan’s black cashmere sweater set trimmed with French lace. Says Khan of his elaborate designs: “They’re attention getting — I’ve taken art thousands of years old and made it modern for today’s woman.” Women, including the First Lady, who most recently wore a silvery tulle showstopper during a surprise appearance on this year’s Academy Awards.  ANDREA NAVERSEN


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