A fixture on the fashion scene since the ’70s, Norma is a New York-based fashion legend and wellness guru, renowned for her inventive designs such as her sleeping bag coat, high-heeled sneaker, and Parachute Collection. Her influential swimwear – made famous by Farrah Fawcett’s poster – remains a global phenomenon, and her innovative Sweats Collection from 1980 was the early inspiration for what is today known as “athleisure.”
Cresset Executive Vice President Jessica Malkin leads this inspirational, multi-generational discussion as we delve into Norma’s memoir and guidebook, I Am Invincible. During the conversation, Norma shares her secrets to aging with both grace and purpose through each decade of life. As she shares worldly insight and her own path to building a business and brand, she talks about how her focus on health and wellness ultimately enabled her to find fulfilment both professionally and personally. As she reflects on the twists, turns and pitfalls of her 50-year entrepreneurial career and life, she imparts us with timeless lessons on authentic beauty, style, luxury, leadership, fitness, and health – providing actionable advice designed to help find our own paths to health and happiness.
About Norma Kamali
Norma Kamali is an American fashion designer best known for the sleeping bag coat, swimwear garments made from silk parachutes, and versatile multiuse pieces. She also has a new line of wellness products called NORMALIFE.
New York City native, Norma attended the Fashion Institute of Technology earning a degree in illustration. Upon graduating, she worked as a freelance fashion illustrator before opening a boutique with her then husband. She became known for her line of clothing made of real silk parachute material – the most famous being the red one-piece bathing suit worn by Farrah Fawcett in the iconic 1976 poster as well as the bathing suit worn by Whitney Houston on the back cover of her 1985 debut album. She also popularized the shoulder pad in womenswear in the 1980s. Kamala’s work is found in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and was the first designer to create an online store on eBay.
Norma Kamali has received numerous awards and recognition for her work including a Coty Award in 1981, a plaque on the Fashion Walk of Fame, the CFDA Board of Directors Special Tribute Award in 2005, the CFDA Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016, and the Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Pioneer Award at the United Nations in recognition for her achievements in the fashion industry in 2019.