Norma Kamali is one of those incredible individuals who over the past 40 years has possibly influenced more major (and long lasting) fashion trends than any other designer of her generation. Her passion and creative contribution to design, the arts, wellness and education is truly remarkable. By maintaining an unrestricted and unorthodox approach to fashion she has continued to innovate and excite us since the 1970’s.
Without ever having studied fashion design she created her first clothing line in 1974 with no experience of pattern making or sewing. She came up with the famous “parachute collection” using real silk parachutes bought from an army surplus store. They were oversized billowing garments in a multitude of over-dyed colors, immediately becoming a major fashion hit of the 70’s.
In 1975 NK invented “the sleeping bag coat”, an ingenious giant quilted jacket with the appearance of a sleeping bag. As we know, the puffy coat has remained an important winter staple ever since. She also came up with the “high heeled sneaker” and travel-friendly poly-jersey clothing wearable in up to 10 ways per design.
She influenced the entire swimwear industry too. From the time Christie Brinkley appeared on the cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine in 1977 in a custom made Norma Kamali “Pull Bikini”, NK has been at the forefront of swimwear design. She became the first swimwear designer to infuse her work with retro hollywood glamour igniting the rage for vintage (endorsed by her own unmistakable personal style and “Betty Page-esque hairstyle”).
In the 80’s she popularized cotton jerseys for daywear using industrial grade gym sweatshirting material to create a groundbreaking collection that helped launch the leisurewear revolution.
She led the new wave of technology in the 80’s by directing and producing her own videos thereby pioneering a new trend in fashion merchandising, and in 1996 presented her fall collection as a worldwide virtual reality experience broadcast on the internet. In 1998 she was among the first designers to launch an online shop and most recently launched an interactive iPad video of her swimwear collection which could be e-mailed and shared by her dedicated fan base.
She’s also recognized for her costume designs for musicals, for dance and performance artists and for her interiors, home furnishings and accessories lines.
Amazingly for the past 15 years she’s also had the time and energy to teach students in the New York Public Schools system how to combine art with business, establishing job opportunities for artistic and creative kids and winning numerous community service awards. She’s also a strong advocator of self-esteem for young women.
Her own personal interest in the environment and personal health, fitness and beauty has led her to establish a “Wellness Cafe” and headquarters in New York City which specializes in ancient homeopathic remedies and modern theraputic programmes for the whole family.
This is why I love Norma Kamali and I hope she inspires you too!
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Sleeping bag coats image from BNet: Why Norma Kamali’s Aim for Affordable Fashion is on Target | BNET
Farrah Fawcett image from Norma Kamali OMO: Norma Kamali
Norma Kamali collection images from Norma Kamali collection: NORMA KAMALI
Lady Gaga image from the Mail online: Sofia Vergara’s $98 hourglass secret: We meet the designer behind the star’s figure-flattering swimsuit from the Pepsi ad | Mail Online
Norma Kamali image from fashionindie.com: faar_walmart_v.jpg 300×449 pixels