elisa_rolle (elisa_rolle) wrote,

Norman Norell (April 20, 1900 - October 25, 1972)

Norman Norell (born Norman David Levinson on April 20, 1900 in Noblesville, Indiana; died October 25, 1972 in New York City) was an American fashion designer known for his elegant suits and tailored silhouettes.

The son of a haberdasher, from early childhood Norell had an ambition to become an artist. After spending a short period at military school during World War I, he studied fashion design at the Pratt Institute. In 1922, he joined the New York studio of Paramount Pictures where he designed clothes for Gloria Swanson and other stars of silent movies. He then worked as a costume designer on Broadway, making the costumes for the Ziegfeld Follies and the Cotton Club, as well as for the Brooks Costume Company and for wholesale dress manufacturer Charles Armour. In 1928, he was hired by Hattie Carnegie and remained with her until 1941.

In 1943, Norell won a Coty Fashion Award and became a critic at the Pratt Institute fashion department, where he was previously a student. Shortly afterwards Anthony Traina invited him to form the fashion company Traina-Norrell, with Traina looking after the business side and Norell the fashion side. By 1944, Norell had launched chemise dresses, evening dresses, fur coats, sequined evening sheaths, fur slacks and empire-line dresses.

Michelle Obama, as First Lady of the United States, wore a vintage Norell dress at a Washington Christmas party in December, 2010.

When Norell left Hattie Carnegie, he wasn’t yet in the position financially to open his own business. Anthony Traina, a wholesale clothing manufacturer, offered Norell a partnership. Traina offered to pay Norell a larger salary if Norell's name wasn’t on the label, less if it was. "Norell took the lower salary and the label, or at least half of it. In 1941, Traina-Norell was born. Norell’s work at Traina-Norell would become famous for its fit, simplicity, and quality... By the 1950s, Norell was holding twice yearly shows at the Traina-Norell showroom at 550 7th Avenue. These were black tie events with shows planned as minutely as an open-heart surgery." Connie Zeigler, "Norman Norell," Commercial Article 06, 2013.

Evening dress, ca. 1955
Norman Norell is credited as the father of American high fashion, an accolade well-deserved for a long career which established the country's fashion industry and made way for other great designers such as Bill Blass, James Galanos, and Halston. In 1941, after years of working with another fashion icon, Hattie Carnegie, Norell partnered with Anthony Traina to form Traina-Norell where he began to receive recognition for his designs. In 1960 Norell founded his own label, Norman Norell Ltd., where his reputation became equal to that of French designers of the time. Norell's style consisted of sophisticated and luxurious garments executed in a relaxed manner. Especially notable are his sequined evening sheaths which remain classic and beautiful in their simplicity.

Cocktail dress, ca. 1959 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/158788?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=3)

Dinner dress, ca. 1955 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/158886?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=4)

Cocktail ensemble, 1951 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/159128?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=5)

Dinner dress, 1957 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/157511?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=7)

Evening dress, ca. 1960 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/157654?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=9)

Evening dress, ca. 1955 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/158210?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=10)

Suit, ca. 1954 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/159069?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=11)

Evening dress, 1957 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/159412?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=12)

Cocktail dress, ca. 1955 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/159441?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=13)

Evening dress, ca. 1953 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/159590?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=14)

Evening coatdress, 1964 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/155702?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=15)

Evening dress, ca. 1963 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/159075?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=17)

Evening coat, 1970–71 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/157035?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=19)

Evening dress, fall/winter 1964–65 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/156068?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=20)

Evening ensemble, 1970–71 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/156092?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=21)

Evening dress, ca. 1958 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/158799?rpp=60&pg=1&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=22)

Cocktail dress, 1950 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/157611?rpp=60&pg=2&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=69)

Dinner dress, ca. 1956 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/159573?rpp=60&pg=2&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=70)

Dinner dress, 1951 (http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/157500?rpp=60&pg=2&ao=on&ft=Norman+Norell&who=Norman+Norell&pos=71)

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norman_Norell

Further Readings:

100 Unforgettable Dresses by Hal Rubenstein
Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: Harper Design (October 25, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061151661
ISBN-13: 978-0061151668
Amazon: 100 Unforgettable Dresses
Amazon Kindle: 100 Unforgettable Dresses

A must for all fashion enthusiasts, movie buffs, andcelebrity watchers, 100 Unforgettable Dresses showcases thebehind-the-scenes stories of the most memorable, influential dresses from theworlds of fashion, film, television, society, and politics. In this lavishlyillustrated style compendium, InStyle magazinefashion director Hal Rubenstein reveals the fascinating origins and legacies ofthe most stunning dresses ever created. Perfect for backstage story snoops,gossip lovers, die-hard shoppers, and pop culture mavens who can't get enoughof these indelible, once-in-a-lifetime creations, 100 Unforgettable Dresses willchange the way you think about couture forever.

More Fashion Designers at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Art

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Tags: gay classics, lgbt designers

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