Team Naeem + Team Nolte = Wow
All retailers can go to any showroom. Some luxury showrooms require you to be an existing account before they will grant you an appointment, but to be INVITED to a premier of a couture designer is the ultimate compliment to a retailer. And such was that experience as my old friend, Naeem Khan, debuted his very first bridal collection on October 12.
Even as a seasoned buyer, this premiere made me do a double-take.
Not unlike a lot of sensory overload experiences, words nearly fall short, but let me share the back-story.
Naeem and I started our careers at the same time. We are within three years of the same age, married the same number of years, have children the same age and fondly remember that early friendship founding.
I was flattered to be ushered to the head of the queue when we arrived for the unveiling. (However, when I spied Colin Cowie a few yards back, I wiggled back to visit before the elevators took us up, thus we missed being in the very first group.)
The elevator opened into a darkened private foyer of a foliage-covered ceiling and enormous lantern chandeliers. Eight male models (way too handsome to be “waiters”) stood silently in black-tie with silver trays of champagne as we emerged from the foyer.
The shock and awe was the tableau that greeted us. The premiere was not a fashion show with runway and chairs, but rather a stunning (and I don’t use that word unless I’m “stunned”) presentation of 14 live mannequins in identical makeup and hair wearing 14 of the most breathtaking gowns I have ever seen in my life.
We were almost afraid to approach the “islands” upon which the models were standing. However, within seconds, Naeem spotted me and the years rolled away as we hugged.
I introduced him to my daughters and insisted he get back to greeting the 75 people who were filling the room.
I stood with other notables: Mark Ingram, Mara and Ronnie (Kleinfield owners), Linda Fargo (Bergdorf Goodman’s Senior VP of Fashion) and all the editors of the major magazines just soaking in the artistry of such intricate bead work.
It was obvious that this guest list was a “Who’s Who” in the bridal world, and I pinched myself to say “Are you really here?!”
I visited with Mrs. Khan who then insisted that her single sons come meet my single daughters! It was fun. They are a gracious family. The Kahn boys also work in the family firm.
The following day, we returned for an up-close and personal look at all 25 pieces in the collection and made our selections. Naeem’s oldest son and I visited a lot during that hour visit and I shared with him memories of when his father used to sell me beaded evening gowns. I could only afford one plane ticket and Naeem couldn’t afford any showroom employees. We were “it” for both our companies. What memories!
We will be hosting a Trunk Show of the collection within the next few months and expect an incredible buzz as the Midwest learns they don’t need to spend money going to Chicago, Dallas or New York to get this caliber of bridal gown.
Stay tuned for details and get ready to be equally “wowed!”