During her latest look book shoot, Norma Kamali discovered a man on set, her hairdresser’s assistant, gushing over her latest designs. The idea wasn’t a new one, there was a period of time in the Seventies where 50 percent of her customer base was men, including the New York Dolls (whom she learned the assistant was a longtime fan of), who would dress not for drag, but rather to put outfits together and enjoy their feminine flare. Excited by his enthusiasm, Kamali told the assistant if time permitted at the end of the day, they would take some images of him in the clothes.
“So everybody’s packing up and I’m throwing things and he’s putting them on, throwing them back. We did a whole bunch of photographs and I thought to myself, oh my God, it’s so right and perfect in the moment. Look at how happy he is,” Kamali gushed, explaining why she ended up using his lively photographs in the look book. Clad in updated silhouettes, the sleeping bag coat in silver, a leopard-print blazer with athletic stripe down the arm, and a marbled flowy trench, with the biggest smile on in the room, Kamali felt the message couldn’t be more timely.
“Women have a good time wearing clothes, but guys really when you see a guy happy like that.…He’s understanding that feminine kind of thing we have,” she explained, adding that although her pieces are not genderless, they’re important in a world that is blurring the line — whether religion, sex, politics and gender — for men to wear women’s clothes much like the mainstream acceptance of women wearing men’s clothes. Besides updated colorways and classic details brought back from Kamali’s vast heritage — velvet and red and pink quilted layers, retro leggy bikinis and a new poncho-style sleeping-bag coat — the main messages of resort were silent ones. The other big message of resort: all of her pieces are machine washable.