Tag Archive | Norman Norell

Eye On Design: Obi Kimono Style Wrap Dress By Norman Norell

Kimono Style Wrap Dress
Photos By Gail

Unlike many 20th-century fashion designers, Norman Norell rarely sought inspiration from non-western or exotic cultures. Norell’s Obi dresses (circa 1965) were a rare exception. Named after the wide belt used to secure and ornament a Japanese Kimono, the wrap-wtyle Obi Dresses were constructed with a built-in panel of fabric that encased the upper torso using a hook and eye closure.This interior garment allowed the outer wrap layer to glide smoothly over the body.

Kimono Style Wrap Dress

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Norell: Dean of American Fashion, at the Museum at FIT.

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Eye On Design: Norman Norell’s Mermaid Dresses

Mermaid Dresses
All Photos By Gail

Aptly called the Mermaid, Norman Norell’s shimmering, sequin-covered evening gown is arguably his most recognizable creation. Like many designers, he was influenced by Hollywood costumes, especially those created during the Golden Age. In fact, Norell began his career working for both Brooks Costume Company and Paramount Pictures during the 1920s. It is not surprising that he was one of the most successful at incorporating silver screen glamour in his luxurious, ready-to-wear evening garments, especially his Mermaid gowns.

Silver Blue 1972 Dark Purple 1965
Silver Blue Evening Gown (1972); Dark Purple Long Sleeve Evening Dress (1965)

What made Norell’s Mermaids so successful was his ability to strike the perfect balance of physical comfort and visual impact. Most often, he made the gowns using a base of knitted silk jersey. The base was then covered with a dazzling pavé of hand-applied sequins that were dyed repeatedly to match the jersey. Each of the tiny, reflective discs was sewn on with its on unique stitch pattern, allowing the sequins to shift and move independently. The result was a garment that reflected the maximum amount of light

Forest Green Evening Dress 1972
Forest Green Evening Dress (1972)

Photographed as part of the Exhibit, Norell: Dean of American Fashion, on View Through April 14th, 2018 at the Musuem at FIT in Manhattan.

Eye On Design: Beaded Culottes Dress By Norman Norell

Beaded Culottes Dress
Photos By Gail 

In 1960, Norman Norrell  created one of his most daring and sensational innovations, the first culotte-skirted, wool flannel day suit. Soon thereafter, he debuted the culotted evening dress. Although it took years to gain widespread popularity, Norell responded to the fact that modern women were more mobile than ever and needed clothing to match their lifestyles.

Beaded Culottes Dress
Pale Pink Beaded Culottes Dress (1961), Chiffon with Glass Beads

Because he was convinced of the culotte’s value and insisted that it be made perfectly, Norell offered to give away his pattern to other Seventh Avenue clothing companies free of charge.

Photographed as part of the Exhibit, Norell: Dean of American Fashion, on View Through April 14th, 2018 at the Musuem at FIT in Manhattan.