When two powerhouse fashion icons come together, what can they produce, a spectacular event, that’s what! The Costume Council of the Chicago History Museum, the support group of the world renowned Costume Collection housed at CHM, is teaming up with the “invincible” designer and wellness guru, Norma Kamali to present a fascinating evening event exploring the lifestyle that Kamali has described in her just published book, Norma Kamali: I Am Invincible.

As I have mentioned in several nenasnotes blog posts, I have been involved with the Costume Council since its inception, have held various positions over the years, chaired events, given lectures, have donated garments to the Collection and continue to be an active participant in its programming, that is why I am sharing this extra-special event with you.

I don’t know about you but I need a diversion from politics, the pandemic, crime, the Polar Vortex, isolation, quite frankly the continuing upsetting world we live in today….what better way than to hear how we can take care of ourselves, learn more about a successful decades long career in the always fascinating world of fashion and engage with a legend. And as a bonus, when you subscribe for the entire event you will receive not only a signed copy of the book but a “swag box” chucked full of goodies. Your contribution helps preserve the Costume Collection. How could we have survived this past year of changes without communicating via Zoom, I know it has been a lifeline to me, this evening will be presented via Zoom.

From the February 2nd New York Times, “The fashion designer Norma Kamali stays young in looks and spirit, but not for lack of effort. Ms. Kamali, who is best known for the archetypal sleeping-bag coat that debuted in the mid-1970s, is serious about her skin care — her wellness line, Normalife, was introduced last year — and, perhaps more important, about her diet and fitness regimen. She details her philosophy of “aging with power” in her new wellness book, “I Am Invincible”.

The Costume Collection of the Chicago History Museum with more than 50,000 costumes and textiles dating from the eighteenth century to the present, the Museum’s world-renowned Costume and Textiles collection is noted for both its size and the quality of its holdings.

Costume materials include work by distinguished designers such as Norma Kamali. The pieces picture are from the Collection…

Swimsuit ensemble, circa 1980. OMO/Norma Kamali. Gift of Mrs. Michael Leventhal. Chicago History Museum.
Norma Kamali first became well known for her swimwear after creating the red one-piece bathing suit worn by Farrah Fawcett in the iconic 1976 poster.
Dress, circa 1981. Norma Kamali. Gift of Mrs. Ralph J. Mills Jr., Chicago History Museum.
She debuted her “sweats” collection in 1980, a line of stylish day wear made of fleece-backed cotton knit (sweatshirt material). The collection featured cheerleader skirts, dropped waists, peplums and large shoulder pads. It was an immediate success and was widely copied.
Dress, circa 1981. Norma Kamali. Gift of Mrs. Ralph J. Mills Jr.. Chicago History Museum.
Evening dress, circa 1983. OMO/Norma Kamali. Gift of Mrs. Ralph J. Mills Jr. Chicago History Museum.
In 1977, Norma Kamali opened her OMO Norma Kamaliboutique (On My Own) in NYC. She gained recognition quickly by creating innovative 1940’s inspired evening ensembles from comfortable fabrics with large shoulder pads and cinched waists.


The iconic André Leon Talley wearing the iconic Kamali Sleeping Bag Coat (we need someone to donate one to the Collection….just a thought!). Image found on Pinterest, featured in The New York Times, date and photographer not known

Here is everything you need to know on how to register for this not to be missed event…the deadline is fast approaching and I wanted to get your attention before Super Bowl Sunday….sign up now! Will I see you there, I hope so!!!!




  1. Shelley MacArthur Farley February 8, 2021 / 9:10 pm

    Neena, I am one of Norma’s greatest fans! Started with her from the “get go”.
    I have the iconic “sleeping bag” coat in bright red and reversed in turquoise. Debating whether I should let it go?? 🙂 Even has a matching muffler.

    • nenasnotes February 9, 2021 / 12:19 am

      Keep it and enjoy wearing it.

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