Thursday, April 7, 2011

Favorite Old Thing of the Week

Norman Norell: Conservative Elegance

Norman Norell, seen in the picture at the left with models, was an American designer throughout the middle of the 20th century. Norell is among the group of American designers who gained prominence during WWII because of the lack of communication that was available between France and America at the time. French fashion had reigned superior for centuries, but because French designing was cutback significantly due to Nazi occupation, magazines such as Vogue and Harper's Bazaar began to feature more American designers.

During the early part of his career, Norell worked with Hattie Carnegie, another prominent American designer. After partnering in the company Traina-Norell for 20 years, Norell finally broke off on his own in 1960.

Norell's aesthetic is known for its precision tailoring, simplicity, and elegant femininity. Some of his signature looks include his sequined mermaid gowns, as seen on Marilyn Monroe in the picture above, his short jersey dresses, his nautical themed looks featuring bows, buttons and belts, and his elegant suits.

Norman Norell remained a prominent figure in the fashion industry until his death in 1972. Norell, Claire McCardell, Pauline Trigere, Charles James, and Gilbert Adrian are some of the American designers that helped resurrect fashion in America and abroad after the world had experienced two decades of depression and war. In the picture to the right, Norell is seen in his signature red tie along with some of his signature looks. He was truly an American classic.

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