Norma Kamali

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Norma Kamali
Norma Arraez

(1945-06-27) June 27, 1945 (age 76)
New York City, U.S.
Alma materFashion Institute of Technology
OccupationFashion designer
Years active1968–present

Norma Kamali (née Arraez; born June 27, 1945)[1] is an American fashion designer. She is best known for the "sleeping bag" coat, garments made from silk parachutes, and versatile multi-use pieces.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in New York City, Kamali grew up in a middle class family on Manhattan's Upper East Side to Estrella C. Galib Arraez Granofsky and Salvador Mariategui William Arraez.[1][3] She aspired to be a painter.[3] Kamali attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and earned a degree in illustration.[3][4] Upon graduating, Kamali worked as a freelance fashion illustrator for a year. She also worked for Northwest Orient Airlines from 1966 to 1967.[5]


In 1969, Kamali opened a boutique with her then-husband Mohammed Houssein Kamali. She became known for her line of clothing made of real silk parachute material, which included the innovation of being adjustable in length and fit by draw string.[6] Kamali designed the red one-piece bathing suit worn by Farrah Fawcett in the iconic 1976 poster[7] and the bathing suit worn by Whitney Houston on the back cover of her 1985 debut album. Farrah Fawcett's suit was donated to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in 2011.[8] She is also credited with popularizing the shoulder pad in womenswear in the 1980s.[9] Her work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.[10]

Kamali was the first designer to create an online store on eBay.[2] In addition to designing clothing, she has also produced a fitness, health and beauty line.[11] In 2008, Kamali produced a collection for Walmart.[12]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2010 Kamali received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, Fashion Institute of Technology.[13] In 1981 Kamali won a Coty Award, called the "Winnie" but formally titled the American Fashion Critics' Award.[14] Kamali has a plaque on the Fashion Walk of Fame.[12] She received the CFDA Board of Directors Special Tribute Award in 2005,[2] and was awarded the CFDA Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016,[3] which was presented to her by Michael Kors.[15]

In 2019, Kamali received the Women's Entrepreneurship Day Pioneer Award[16] at the United Nations in recognition for her achievements in the fashion industry.

Personal life[edit]

In 1968, she married Mohammad 'Eddie' Kamali. They divorced in 1977. She is engaged to longtime partner, Marty Edelman. Kamali is of Lebanese and Basque Spanish descent.


  1. ^ a b Alford, Holly Price; Stegemeyer, Anne (2014). Who's Who in Fashion. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 194. ISBN 978-1-60901-969-3.
  2. ^ a b c "Norma Kamali". Council of Fashion Designers of America. Archived from the original on April 29, 2014. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Anderson, Kristin (June 1, 2016). "Bette Midler, Vera Wang, and More Tell the Story of the Iconic Norma Kamali". Vogue. Archived from the original on January 2, 2019.
  4. ^ "Norma Kamali". People. December 27, 1982. Archived from the original on November 23, 2016. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  5. ^ Kellogg, Ann T., Amy T. Peterson, Stefani Bay, and Natalie Swindell. "Kamali, Norma." In In an Influential Fashion: An Encyclopedia of Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Fashion Designers and Retailers Who Transformed Dress, illustrated by Kamila Dominik, [169]-171. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002.
  6. ^ Jablon, Sara (2015). "Kamali, Norma (1945–)". In F., José Blanco (ed.). Clothing and Fashion: American Fashion from Head to Toe [4 volumes]: American Fashion from Head to Toe. ABC-CLIO. p. 175. ISBN 978-1-61069-310-3.
  7. ^ Dodes, Rachel (June 25, 2009). "Norma Kamali, Designer of Swimsuit from Farrah Fawcett Poster, Remembers the Star". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on July 1, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2012.(subscription required)
  8. ^ Moss, Hilary (February 2, 2011). "Farrah Fawcett's Red Swimsuit Goes To Smithsonian (VIDEO)". Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  9. ^ "Index Magazine". Index Magazine. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  10. ^ "The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Collections". Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  11. ^ post a comment › (June 21, 2011). "Norma Kamali Resort 2012 Collection on Runway Review". Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Sidewalk-Catwalk". Sidewalk-Catwalk. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  13. ^ "Norma Kamali". Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  14. ^ BERNADINE MORRIS, 1981 COTY WINNERS New York Times, September 26, 1981
  15. ^ 2016 CFDA FASHION AWARDS: Norma Kamali Receives Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award on YouTube
  16. ^ "WEDO Annual Pioneer Awards 2019". Women's Entrepreneurship Day. Archived from the original on December 6, 2019. Retrieved December 6, 2019. Additional WEDO Kamali Normal Kamali profile, accessed January 14, 2020, and archived December 6, 2019.

External links[edit]