Designer Norma Kamali

There aren’t many designers who have a café dedicated to wellness inside his or her stores…Norma Kamali does. Kamali – the curator of her Wellness Café (which houses wellness products from around the world, and from Kamali’s wellness collection) – is a fan of all things beauty from the inside out, and is a legend in her own right. If you spotted us on the beach this summer, we were most likely in one of Kamali’s swimsuits, and her talents of course extend beyond the beach to couture and accessories. We chatted with Kamali on aging beautifully, cyclical trends and Japanese food…

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From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

I follow a plant-based diet. There must be foods with lots of colors on my plate. I also include sea salt and my Olive Oil on most of my meals.

In your opinion, what makes a brand great?

Authenticity.

How has the industry changed since you started? In what ways good and bad?

The industry has completely changed and it was overdue! Change is always needed, which I think is good. Bad is not adapting and being left out of the fun of a new adventure.

Should certain trends always be cyclical? For instance, should shoulder pad come back?

I think cyclical trends are a thing of the past – and please, no more shoulder pads!

What’s the best advice you’ve received throughout your career?

Know thyself!

The worst advice you’ve received…

Take the money and run.

More personally, how do you practice beauty from the inside out?

I work out every day, eat safe and healthy foods, and I always try to meditate and get a good night sleep as often as possible. Love, laugh, dance, sing and work your butt off! 

What are your morning and nightly beauty routines?

I use my Olive Calcium Liniment in the shower and on my face and body every morning and every night. It leaves your skin perfectly moisturized and is a must have all year round. 

Foods best and worst for one’s skin…

Olive oil is the best. Alcohol is the worst. 

Tips to aging beautifully…

Keep your spirit strong and don’t think about aging.

How does wellness play into fashion and visa versa?

If you don’t feel good, you won’t look good in anything you wear. 

What’s your best memory from fashion in the eighties?

I was discovering that something I believed in – casual style for under $200 – could work as a lifestyle statement in the fashion industry.

What’s your advice to women getting up, looking in the mirror and getting dressed?

Only have clothes in your closet that you love and you can wash, not dry clean. Stay fit so you feel good in your clothes, no matter your size. Don’t over groom. Clean and healthy usually look good.

The New York restaurant you wish was still around and why…

A small Japanese restaurant that I ate lunch and dinner at for twenty-five years. It had karaoke and baseball and was just absolutely the most fun place.

What are your favorite cities for food? What restaurants do you go to in each?

Barcelona has such delicious food – a place called Cal Pep is a must every time I visit.

If you could host a dinner party with any five people living or dead, who would be there? What would be your quote of the evening? 

Michelangelo, Mahatma Gandhi, Cary Grant, Abraham Lincoln, and Pablo Picasso.

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*Norma Kamali, photographed in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann. Norma wears Norma Kamali and Ann Demeulemeester shoes

Read this interview with Donna Karan about her legendary career in fashion. Anna Sui talked to us about nineties fashion and inspiration. Diane von Furstenberg shared her secrets to aging gracefully.