During Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Glam got the chance to experience Norma Kamali’s 1930s-inspired Fall 2012 collection as well as her new affordable line Kamali Kulture in an innovative way. Surrounded by towering cut-outs of models dressed in the new styles and after sipping her newest juice blends, we got to chat with the social media-savvy designer to find out how the oversized “Glamazons” were developed, what sparked her new accessible line, and what she considers to be style staples.
Who came up with the idea for the oversized cutouts of the models?
Actually, I did because I felt that this thing is awesome and should be impressive. I thought ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have photographs that look bigger than life and bring them to life?’ So that’s how that came about.
What was the inspiration for the Fall 2012 collection?
I think the idea is timeless fashion is really key. The selection from Kamali Kulture for under $100 is all about timeless style. And while the regular collection looks nothing like [the Kamali Kulture collection], a sequined coat is timeless. It may be something you love and you wear with jeans and anything else. It might not be particularly for you but if you find something you love and you’re a real girly-girl, you wear it all the time. You don’t wear clothes that don’t fit you right and you don’t love. You wear something that fits you, that makes you feel good, and that you love. So that’s the secret: Find those pieces and build a wardrobe out of it.
What was the spark that led you to create Kamali Kulture?
There were many women who would say, ‘I love your collections, but I can’t afford your clothes. I don’t fit into your clothes.’ So this collection is under $100 and the sizes run from 2 to 18, and they’re all online. I think that fashion isn’t just for certain women; it’s for any age, any woman. And that was the whole point of it. It was answering a need, and I think if you pay attention to social media and interactions with people who are interested in what you do, you respond and do something about it. So I responded.
How have you been dealing with everything that goes into getting prepped for the presentation?
Well, I eat constantly. The secret I think now versus the past is selection. Chocolate, jellybeans, and everything – I’ve stopped eating processed foods three years ago. The interesting thing is I eat mammoth amounts of food. If you saw what I eat in a day, it’s ridiculous. I feel energetic from it, I don’t feel like, ‘Oh my God, I did something terrible.’ I ate my way to the collection and didn’t sleep as much as I would like to, so that’s how I feel like I’ve dealt with it. I think it’s a great way to put together habits that work.
Do you plan to treat yourself after Fashion Week?
I’m going to meet up with my boyfriend, and we’re going to go to Turks and Caicos. When you do a collection, you don’t get to see anybody that you care about. So it’ll be nice to hook up again and spend some time together. It’s only a few days, but it’s well worth looking forward to two or three days.
What is a style staple that every girl should have?
More and more I think having that dress – a jersey dress that you throw on for a family function, for those things where you don’t know what to wear. I also think that finding a suit that you can have is great. You know men on weekends look like slobs, and then they put on a suit and suddenly he looks like a genius, and now you think even more of him when he wears a suit. The same thing happens for women. When we put on suits, we look smarter, more powerful, so I’m really on a mission to get more women into suits. And suits are expensive, that’s why it was really important to me to have suits that are at a great price and accessible to a lot of women.
If you weren’t involved in fashion, what career choice would you make?
Somebody called me and said, ‘I have some new technology that you may be interested in, and I heard in the fashion industry, you’re the one.’ And so I said, ‘Yeah that’s me,’ and we met. After the meeting he asked me, ‘Are you a tech person who designs clothes or are you a designer who likes tech?’ And I said, ‘Wow, all of a sudden I’m not sure if I have an answer for that.’ But obviously, I’m a designer who loves tech.