Beauty and the art of living

Article: Beauty and the art of living

Main Image Detail98162205 / Brand New Images / Stone

Share

Save & Download

PDF
Some say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but magazine editors know beauty is in the eye of the Art Director. They shape the stories of what beauty is, and over the last 18 months we have seen scares over size zero models, and fashion magazines milking publicity from plus-size model shoots.

When French Elle features Tara Lynn on their cover, and the magnetic Christina Hendricks dominates the Mad Men office with her presence, it is clear that image-makers and taste-makers are beginning to play with the idea of beauty. And it’s beyond a reconsideration of the aesthetics of beauty, it’s also framed by wider ideas about what is healthy. That healthy and the beautiful are connected in some broader way. And this is what drives Fashion designer Norma Kamali, a sense of beauty as a practice as much as a style.

“Beauty is connected to wellness in a very fundamental way”

Norma Kamali’s fashion has always married the stylish with the practical. In the 1970s, regular camping in the woods with her boyfriend and running to the bathroom at night convinced her that the sleeping bag she wrapped around her needed arms – and the Sleeping Bag coat was born. Kamali has always combined high fashion with a sense of what the wider public want (her parachute collection), and she currently designs a range of clothes for Wal Mart. She has also opened up the Wellness Café in her store in mid town New York selling health and wellness products.

“There will be more people passing on the information and sharing where, when and how to find wellness”

It’s a lyrical take on beauty and wellness, on the relationship between mind and body, inside and outside, symbolized in her use of olive oil for cooking and cosmetics. She has taken this a step further with a series of discussions about wellness on her website called ‘Conversations’.

Kamali talks in pictures and captures the grammar of beauty and wellness, connecting specific detail to the bigger impact of each minute decision and choice. The ethos, sensibility and expression of Kamali is a hotline to the idea that beauty is connected to wellness in a very fundamental way.

 

The Curve: Your fashion has often captured the spirit of the time, whether it was the Parachute Collection, or the Sleeping Bag coat for example. In 2003 you launched the Wellness collection, why did that feel like the right moment?


Norma Kamali: Actually right after 9/11 I stopped and thought about what is really important. In fact, real luxury is a healthy body and mind. Then, what we wear and how we wear it, enhance that body.

How did you conceive and define wellness at the time?

If you have a timeless product like olive oil, that can be used inside and topically, for personal care and nutrition, that results in fitness, health and beauty.

“In fact, real luxury is a healthy body and mind”

How did you make the commercial choices about what kinds of products would sit with the idea of “wellness”?


Timeless plant-based products top the list and that means inside and outside uses.

Which people have influenced your philosophy of wellness?


Michael Pollan [Journalist, author of Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual] and Andrew Weil [Physician, popularizer of the idea of Integrative Medicine].

What inspired the Conversations on Wellness?


In order to make the wellness voice strong and loud I asked an assortment of people to join me in a “conversation”.

I put it on film so that we could share this information, and in turn inspire conversation and change. The result of the event was a very active audience wanting more. I decided to continue sharing products and people that empower us to change, rethink our habits and share the info with family and friends.

What does wellness look like in 2011? What is its palette, visually and conceptually?


Wellness will become the norm over time and options will be as accessible as fast food and coffee bars, not in 2011, but there will be more people passing on the information and sharing where and when how to find wellness.

The summary


‘Wellness’, an unusual word, will become part of the conversation framing all aspects of image choices, from models to settings. Plant-life will continue to be a default visual expression of natural beauty, encapsulating life’s natural cycle. Beauty will also be expressed as ‘endurance’ an ability to sway and not break on life’s challenges.

The takeout

‘Wellness’, an unusual word, will become part of the conversation framing all aspects of image choices, from models to settings. Plant-life will continue to be a default visual expression of natural beauty, encapsulating life’s natural cycle. Beauty will also be expressed as ‘endurance’ an ability to sway and not break on life’s challenges.

Previous Home Next