Monday, July 5, 2010

Style Icon & Legendary Designer: Norma Kamali

When I think about designer extraordinaire, Norma Kamali, swimsuits are the last things that come to mind. While those designs are very much a part of her vast compilations, it's the clothes that I love. Specifically those designs such as the cutout dress below and that parachute skirt that she's wearing. I shouldn't forget to mention that there are also some fabulous vintage pieces floating around out there as well. While Not as heralded as some of today's more popular designers, she has certainly earned her place among fashion's elite. I believe that it was the latter 90's, when her first collection of dresses made from parachutes debuted. For me, it was love at first sight! I didn't realize that there could be so many variations of one look, until I visited her website...both the dresses and skirts are simply dazzling! I also count her among my "favorite ladies of style," as is evident by the picture featured. She's been photographed wearing that necklace and earrings on more than one occasion, and I would love to know where she found them. I can only imagine, that she purchased them from an open bazaar while visiting some chic travel least that's what I'd like to think. Whether designing for Wal-Mart or adding her to her own collections, she will always have a fan in me!

With Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim aboutto rock The Raleigh July 15 to 19, we knew Norma Kamali was the ideal choice for an impromptu Q&A. She’s fashioned parachutes into ball-gown skirts and can wrap a length of jersey around your body 30 different ways, but Kamali is a virtual goddess in the swim industry, designing sought-after suits that are equal parts retro and glam since 1976. With an early ambition to be a painter, Kamali (at her mother’s insistence) instead studied fashion illustration in New York, which makes utter sense when you peruse her Classic Jersey collection, imbued with a ’40s-inspired vibe that puts one in mind of Vargas girls. Her Goddess Swim collection, meanwhile, looks tailor-made for a Greek temple, and her white Ruffle bikini would suit Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot just swimmingly. While she just turned 65, don’t expect Kamali to have one eye on a retirement plan: Last September she turned an Apple store into a fashion runway and earlier this spring was one of the fi rst designers to launch an iPad app. All of which means you can expect the woman who excels at bathing beauties to ride a creative wave for years to come.

What’s the ideal Miami swimming pool to party at?
I like to swim in pools so I prefer at friends.

What three things are essential for a fabulous day in the sun?
flat stomach, big hat, fun friends.

What celebrities would you love to see wearing one of your suits?
Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly.

What’s the best trend in bathing suits as of late?
Best trend is that there is no trend, anyting goes.

What’s your greatest indulgence in life?
My dog Zeko

Where will you vacation this summer?
In a shack on a farm by the ocean.

What’s the most flattering bathing suit color?
The most flattering on a great body is nude.

Describe your ideal afternoon in the sun.
There are two ideal afternoons.

1. friends eating, cooking, swimming, playing games on the beach and lots of competitive sports

2. alone on the ocean, either kyacking or meditating quietly under the sun.


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