“This is crazy,” said Dania Curby, standing in the rain in Soho as photographers snapped shots of her modeling for the Norma Kamali collection. Only in New York could street scaffolding become a runway for a fashion show! “It was totally spontaneous,” she said amused and a little chilly. The weather on Thursday didn’t seem to be aware that Norma Kamali planned to present her fashion line outside on the sidewalks of New York. So when the rain, came the show just went on.
Undaunted by the showers, models paraded up and down Greene Street with a few appropriately dressed in swimsuits. “It’s pretty cold,” said Sofie Roelens. All Julia Shvetc had to say was “I’m not fine!” The girls were not complaining – just telling the truth about the challenges of the modeling business.
“The Democratization of Fashion” was the theme for the show and the talk that Norma gave inside the Apple Store on Prince Street, while Dania. 17, was adding a credit to her modeling career. This was Dania’s first fashion show in the rain, but she was good natured about it! Kamali, known for her comfortable, stretchy, funky fashions was right on track with trends that never die – tight leggings, loose tops, elegant gowns made to stretch and sleeping bag jackets. The fashion industry is back in the 80s but Norma never really left.
She won my heart and body in the 80s when I was dancing myself crazy at the Silver Shadow, Red Parrot, The Garage, and other sundry dance temples. I could dress reasonably decent for work at the CBS Morning News after watching Diane do the show at the Broadcast Center on 57th Street and at the end of the day I could dash down to the Silver Shadow and dance my brains out until 4 a.m.on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
This enduring designer has decades of die-hard fans and that’s why she’s in Wal-Mart’s and has designed a special EBay Collection. But Kamali, always paying attention, is now moving into the tech age with abandon. The democritization of fashion, according to Kamali, means immediate access to fashion information at any price to everyone around the world instantly. “I see myself rethinking my retail presence,” she said during a Q&A at her Apple presentation. “If I can do all of this anybody can do it! Kamali now is using Apple applications like “skyping” to give her consumers a “try before you buy” experience with her staff.
“Last fall I felt the impact of chance happening – less people were coming into the store. Everybody was starting to be frightened. I started to get really nervous.” she said. After 3 months of studying and educating herself about EBay she was ready to go! “We did our ap in three weeks, which is a kind of a miracle in itself.” But she confessed, “I think I could never not have a store. I need to talk to people.”
Outside, Liza Golden, 19, was modeling a Kamali outside complete with belly stuffing. I chased her down Greene Street wondering if she was really pregnant. I was relieved when she replied, “no.” Nodding that she’d wear the outfit if she were pregnant she added “The clothes aren’t constricting.”
Watching all this from under her umbrella, stylist Barbara Eisen commented that she loved the pregnant look.“I think it’s awesome. You should never be afraid to show your body when you’re pregnant,” she said before heading over to the tents in Bryant Park for more fashion. Modeling in the rain and talking fashion and high tech in the same breath is what makes New York a top dog town and consumer-tuned professionals like Kamali a fashion staple. Keep it coming, Kamali!