NORMAN NORELL is often referred to as the “father of American fashion” for paving the way for more well-known designers like Bill Blass and Halston in the 1970s. Norman’s penchant for couture standards for even his ready-to-wear day suits insured his popularity with everyone from Slim Aaron socialites to Hollywood starlets. For evening, Norman’s signature design was the formfitting “mermaid” sheath gown covered in brilliant sequins that are proving just as popular today as they were back in the 1960s, not surprising since any Norman Norell is an American classic.
The first time I heard the designer’s name was during 1996 Oscars when DEMI MOORE wore a sleek vintage Norman Norell “mermaid” tank sheath in navy.
Then I was watching the 1962 romantic comedy That Touch of Mink starring Cary Grant and Doris Day with that iconic Bergdorf Goodman fashion show featuring Norman Norell and realized he was kind of a big deal.
Years later, first lady MICHELLE OBAMA paid tribute to the fashion legend when she wore vintage Norman Norell to the Christmas in Washington celebration in 2010.
The “mermaid” gown that Demi wore is my favorite, but Suzy Parker in red and Marilyn Monroe in black look sensational in their versions of the “mermaid” gown too.
“There are people who say that designers change fashion often to make women buy clothes. I do not believe it. Fashion’s function is to enhance the beauty of a woman. It changes constantly because women want it to. ” — Norman Norell
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