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.
The spring 1991 collection by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel was clearly inspired by surfing wet-suits. The Blue and Black Sequined Grosgrain Jacket was one of several brightly-colored versions covered in shimmering sequins that glistened like wet neoprene, and the lines of black, grosgrain trim are similar to the seams of a wet-suit. Lagerfeld called this jacket “the city surfer” look and noted that it was “perfect for diving into the nightlife from Paris to Rome to London to New York.”
Photographed as part of the Exhibit Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme which Runs Through at January 6, 2018 the Museum at FIT In Manhattan.
Above and Below, New Shots Added February 9, 2019 from The Current Exhibit, Exhbitionism: 50 Years of the Museum at FIT.