June 27, 1945
New York City, U.S.
|Alma mater||Fashion Institute of Technology|
Early life and education
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. She aspired to be a painter. Kamali attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and earned a degree in illustration. Upon graduating, Kamali worked as a freelance fashion illustrator for a year. She also worked for Northwest Orient Airlines from 1966 to 1967.
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. Kamali designed the red one-piece bathing suit worn by Farrah Fawcett in the iconic 1976 poster 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. She is also credited with popularizing the shoulder pad in womenswear in the 1980s. Her work is included in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Kamali was the first designer to create an online store on eBay. In addition to designing clothing, she has also produced a fitness, health and beauty line. In 2008, Kamali produced a collection for Walmart.
Awards and honors
In 2010 Kamali received an honorary doctorate from her alma mater, Fashion Institute of Technology. In 1981 Kamali won a Coty Award, called the "Winnie" but formally titled the American Fashion Critics' Award. Kamali has a plaque on the Fashion Walk of Fame. She received the CFDA Board of Directors Special Tribute Award in 2005, and was awarded the CFDA Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, which was presented to her by Michael Kors.
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- "Index Magazine". Index Magazine. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
- "The Metropolitan Museum of Art – Collections". Metmuseum.org. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
- post a comment › (June 21, 2011). "Norma Kamali Resort 2012 Collection on Style.com: Runway Review". Style.com. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
- "Sidewalk-Catwalk". Sidewalk-Catwalk. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
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- BERNADINE MORRIS, 1981 COTY WINNERS New York Times, September 26, 1981
- 2016 CFDA FASHION AWARDS: Norma Kamali Receives Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award on YouTube
- "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.
- Norma Kamali Collection website
- Photos: What Millennials Like Me Can Learn From 70-Year-Old Norma Kamali Emilia Petrarca, W Magazine, June 6, 2016