Stylepoints: Back to basics with Norma Kamali

  • Article by: SARA GLASSMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 11, 2012 - 3:44 PM

She recently launched an affordable online-only collection of basics under the label KamaliKulture, available through Amazon and Zappos.

KamaliKulture All In One Dress, $96, www.zappos.com and www.amazon.com.

Norma Kamali has been an icon in the fashion industry since the 1960s. In addition to designing Farah Fawcett's red swimsuit, the original sleeping bag coat and the all-in-one-dress, Kamali is known for integrating fashion with lifestyle and technology. She presented one of her fashion week collections as a 3-D film and her New York city boutique highlights fitness and nutrition, as well. She recently launched an affordable online-only collection of basics under the label KamaliKulture, available through Amazon and Zappos. We talked to Kamali from New York.

Q What five things should every woman own?

A Things that she knows she's going to wear and that represent her authentic self. It really is quite individual. If she works, she should have something that's her favorite go-to piece. If she works out, she should know the type of workout clothes that she feels enhances her workout and makes her feel very powerful. You should have a special-occasion dress that is the most dynamic version of who you are and a signature piece of jewelry, representing the authentic you, and the same with accessories that really bring you forward in the most powerful, dynamic way. We don't really need much more than that.

Q So you don't actually need all that much in your closet?

A We tend to buy extras when we're not happy, because we want them to fill a void or help with our identity or self-image. When we really feel secure or better about ourselves, we tend to need less. All of the clothes we never wear are representations of when we weren't feeling as great about ourselves.

Q How does that apply to your own closet?

A Just being a woman is more challenging when it comes to self-image because we're judged by how we look so often. I'm not sure there are many women who feel their image is great all the time. When we look great, we're unstoppable. When we don't, we do a lot of stupid things.

Q What makes you feel great when you wear it?

A I've been wearing my sleeping bag coat forever because it keeps me warm and I don't do well in cold weather. The all-in-one dress is part of my wardrobe and has been since the 1970s. It's a dress called the all-in-one because it can be worn as many ways as you can think to wear it. The design of it calls for a lot of creativity. I used to wear it in a lot of halter styles. I even put shoulder pads in it in the '80s, with bracelets up to my elbows and more jewelry around my neck, down to my waist. Now I wear it as a tunic most of the time, or one-shoulder, and I don't wear any jewelry with it. I put it over my gym clothes a lot.

Q Tell me about your KamaliKulture line.

A It's all under $100 in sizes 0 to 18. It's timeless and the best go-to pieces from suits, dresses -- more and more new styles are coming in all of the time. These are styles that they can keep forever. I also like clothes that you can throw in the washing machine.

 

Q Why did you come up with this line?

A For three years, I did a line for Wal-Mart. I learned that what I was doing was turning out to be a huge success on their dot-com site. I realized I could reach so many people. In timeless clothing like this, people see you before your dress. It enhances you. It doesn't mean that [the clothes are] boring, because they're not. It doesn't mean they're not modern, because they are. They're timeless.

LUX SOAPS

$16, La Petite Parfumerie, 287 Water St., Excelsior, 952-475-2212, rosssveback.com.

When local lifestyle expert Ross Sveback couldn't find anything but flowery soaps, he created his own collection of natural handmade soaps that appeal to men as well as women. The beautifully packaged collection features gender-neutral ingredients such as frankincense and myrrh. He's expanded his Lux Soaps line to include a VII, a bar made from whipping cream and honey.

THURSDAY

Alexis Bittar jewelry trunk show: Shop more than 400 pieces from the designer's Lucite, Miss Havisham and Elements collections, including rare vintage pieces.

Through Sunday, StyledLife, Galleria, Edina, 952-928-8888, www. styledlife.com.

FRIDAY

Fashion Ball: The Ballet of the Dolls will perform at the dance-and-fashion event, featuring Joynoelle, Ann Labrecht jewelry, Grethen House, Ragstock and Fashion Avenue.

Fri. and Sat., Ritz Theater, 345 13th Av. NE., Mpls., tickets $35 to $75, www.fashionball.org.

SATURDAY

Envision Artopia Spring 2012: The fashion show will highlight local boutiques and designers, including Amanda Christine, Caroline Hayden, Gina Marie Vintage, Kathryn V and CounterCouture. A portion of proceeds goes to Free Arts Minnesota.

9 p.m., Graves 601, 601 1st Av. N., Mpls., $25 for general admission advance tickets and $50 to $75 for VIP at www.envisionmpls.com.

SUNDAY

Opitz bridal event: Bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses, flower girl dresses, shoes and accessories will be 70 to 90 percent off retail prices.

6 to 8 p.m. April 15 and 6 to 9 p.m. April 16, Opitz Outlet, 4320 Excelsior Blvd., St Louis Park, 952-922-2435.

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177 • sglassman @startribune.com • Twitter: @sararglassman

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  • Fashion designer Norma Kamali

  • KamaliKulture suit, www.zappos.com and www.amazon.com.

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