May 21, 1958
All the embroidery is made in my father's workshop in India… and all the cutting and sewing is done in my studio.
The power of celebrity backing has been crucial. I would say that 90 percent of our brand recognition comes from celebrities wearing my pieces.
Halston was one of the hardest-working designers I have come across. The way he cut, moulded, manipulated and draped fabric was inspiring. I was submerged into the Halston subculture alongside Andy Warhol, Liza Minnelli, Elizabeth Taylor and Truman Capote. They shaped who I have become as a designer.
My childhood was a happy one. I was captain of the school sports team and played cricket after class. I had five younger siblings and a large loving family that lived together. We are still very close.
When I was designing Mrs. Obama's dress, half of me was saying, 'What would Halston do?' The other half was saying, 'Be who you are.' Halston, me, America, India – it's been such a great combination. This is what makes me who I am, with the clean lines I learned from Halston and complicated Indian over-the-top Bollywood traditions.
The design process usually starts as a fantasy, with ideas that I dream of and visualize. These ideas become a reality by bringing various ingredients together, from the lifestyle of my bride, her age and sex appeal, to the textures of the finest fabrics and embroideries that we produce in my family factories in India.
My parents noticed my love for clothes and encouraged me to study design abroad. I decided to join the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York but never ended up there.
I came here when I was 20. I came to go to school, but I ended up working for Halston as an assistant. That happened in a very strange way. My father had a meeting with Halston. And my father said to me, 'Join me. I want you to meet this amazing American designer.' And I happened to just tag along, and Halston offered me a job.
I love designing bridal. I do not follow trends – I design dresses that are relevant to the times.
Most pieces take between two and three weeks and involve more than 40 people from the fabric cutters to the embroiders to the sewers. It's an elaborate undertaking.
The world I travel is my inspiration. I name my dresses after cities that inspire me.
Every designer needs a story. Mine is all about glamour because my family has been in the business of glamour for three generations. My grandfather Shamshuddin Khan started his embroidery and fabric-making business in the 1930s.
My favorite part of designing bridal is that I will be a part of the most important day in a woman's life. My work needs to make her feel sophisticated, glamorous, sexy, and comfortable.