Naeem and Ranjana Khan's Love Affair with Miami
by laurie brookins
photograph by presscott mcdonald
Naeem and Ranjana Khan in the bedroom of their Ten Museum Park apartment
Given a choice between the Hamptons and upstate New York, Naeem and Ranjana Khan opted for Miami.
“We were looking for a second home, and he wanted the Hamptons,” Ranjana says. “I said no because it’s such a short season, and it’s so social I knew I would never see him.”
“In my world of being a designer, we have so many clients who go to the Hamptons,” explains Naeem, whose VIP list lately boasts everyone from Lady Gaga to Michelle Obama (the First Lady has worn five of his designs since her husband took office). “Ranjana said, ‘Let’s go upstate, it’s so quiet there,’ and I said, ‘No way, I don’t want to be a country bumpkin.’”
|A cuff from Ranjana Khan’s Resort collection|
A quick trip to visit friends in Miami changed everything. “We fell in love with it,” Ranjana says. “It’s so like Mumbai in a way, all the hustle and bustle and all the different languages.”
Married for 30 years, the Khans seem destined to be a couple: They grew up just blocks away from each other in Mumbai and even attended the same school, although they never met until each had arrived in New York—Naeem to pursue a career in fashion design, while Ranjana happened to be on vacation. “We can be very nostalgic for India sometimes,” Naeem says. “Mumbai is the Riviera of India, and Miami Beach is of course the Riviera of America. I love the heat, the sun, the ocean, the culture, everything about it.”
Once the decision was made, the choice of apartment was astoundingly easy, Naeem says, thanks to a little Web surfing and a lot of ego massage: The designer had just emerged from a fashion show in Dallas, where the audience had showered him with cheers and a standing ovation. “I was feeling so confident, like a million dollars,” he says. “I don’t know if that’s the best time to look at apartments; it might be like being hungry and going to the grocery store.” Newly determined to find that second home, Naeem went online, discovered an apartment at Ten Museum Park, and called the broker. “Before you knew it, I was buying an apartment over the Internet,” he says with a laugh.
It’s a decision the couple has regretted not for one second. They have filled their vacation home with the books they love, as well as some Indian art, but Naeem reveals their intent for the apartment when it comes to art is “a place with no color, perhaps just black-and-white photographs.” He then points to a stunning oversize photograph of Elizabeth Taylor by Firooz Zahedi, which the couple keeps in the guest bedroom, as an example. “Ranjana and I love collecting contemporary art, and we’re thinking this is what will dominate the space, perhaps all photographs either in gelatin or silver foil or black and white,” Naeem says.
These days, the Khans’ escape from New York living is filled with dinners at Soho Beach House, yoga at The Standard Spa for Ranjana, and polo lessons at Palm City Polo in Boca Raton for Naeem. “He’s out of the apartment at 8 am every day for lessons; he’s loving every second of it,” Ranjana says. “I was invited to play with Prince Harry in India, so I’m determined to learn, and to have my own team someday,” Naeem adds.
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.