Naeem Khan inherited his passion for embroidery from his father and grandfather, both of whom designed clothing for Indian royalty. When he was 19, he moved to the United States, eventually becoming an apprentice for celebrated fashion designer Halston. In 2003, he launched his eponymous collection, followed by a wedding line 10 years later. Today, when he’s not designing for style icons like Michelle Obama, Kate Middleton, and Lady Gaga, the part-time Miami resident returns to Mumbai with his wife, Ranjana, to visit family and partake in the city’s decadent draws.
FASHION ESSENTIALS: A starched white shirt, white jeans or khakis, and light slip-ons
VIBE: Energetic, with a love of Bollywood and food
BEST TIME TO GO: November to February. March to May is deathly hot.
MORNING RITUAL: Having breakfast at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel. I order idli (pictured right), a steamed lentil-rice cake, with coconut chutney or Indian eggs mixed with coriander, onions, tomatoes, and spices over toast.
GO-TO RESTAURANT: Trishna. It’s a seafood place, and I love how they do their crabs and the shrimp curry.
BEST WAY TO SPEND A FREE AFTERNOON: Visit Sanjay Gandhi National Park. It’s located inside the city and is filled with birds, leopards, and other wildlife.
SOUNDTRACK: Indian music by Ravi Shankar and Hariprasad Chaurasia, a classical flutist
A MUST-DO EXPERIENCE NOT IN THE GUIDEBOOKS: Take a boat to Elephanta Island, which is home to monkeys and a network of caves filled with carved rock sculptures, including an 18-foot statue of Shiva.
GUILTY PLEASURE: An Ayurvedic spa treatment
UNWRITTEN RULE THE LOCALS LIVE BY: Modesty’s a big thing, so don’t show too much skin.
BEST VIEW: The Hanging Gardens, a terraced garden on the western side of Malabar Hill overlooking the Arabian Sea
SIGNATURE DRINK: I like the age of the British Raj, so I drink gin and tonic.
HOMETOWN GOODS TO STOCKPILE: Handmade textiles like embroidered kurtas and block-printed table covers and bedding
FUN CULTURAL EXPERIENCE: Catch a dance show or musical performance at the National Centre for the Performing Arts