Considered the “American Balenciaga” Norman Norell was the father of creating ready-to-wear with haute couture techniques and quality. His collections were worn by celebrities, first ladies and were featured in many films and tv shows during the 50’s and 60’s. His creations and improvements on ready-to-wear clothing and their everlasting impact of fashion revel him the Dean of American Fashion.
With a background in costume creation Norell chose only the best fabrics for his ready to wear collections. Every detail down to the lining of each garment was made in his NYC atelier. Although his work was worthy of boutique prices, Norell insisted his collections be sold to the masses in department stores. A lover of the past and yet ahead of his time Norell drew inspiration from 1920’s and designed culottes in the 1960’s, pants that would only be popular years later.
After the Indiana native moved to New York to gain a fashion design education he quickly moved into costume designing. Although by 1928 his career as a fashion designer began when he designed for Hattie Carnegie, a prestigious New York fashion house.
Norell for Hattie Carnegie
Before creating his own line Norell worked with garment manufacturer Anthony Traina in 1941. Under this partnership they created the Traina Norell label.
Triana-Norell New York
By 1960 Norell bought out Traina and created the Norell line.
Norman Norell New York
These are the styles that Norell perfected with his couture techniques and ready to wear collections:
- Mermaid Gowns
- Wool Jersey and Colorblocking
- Fur Trims
- Double Sided Breasted Silhouette
- Pant Suits
- Shaped Suits
- Wedged Shaped Coats
- The Pussycat Bow
- Collars and Capes
- Color Choices
- Sailor Suit
- Kimono Style Wrap dress
- The Perfect Little Black Dress
- Empire Waist
- Full Skirts
- Fantasy Coats
- The Ultimate Evening Skirt
Scroll through the slideshows to see the styles mentioned above designed for the Norman Norell, Triana and Hattie Carniege collections.
This highly respected and beloved American Couturier won the Coty Award five times and a honorary doctorate from the Pratt Institute. He was also the second president of the Council of fashion designers of America and celebrated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art amongst many other accolades. Norell: Dean of American Fashion is open until April 14, 2018 at the Museum at FIT.