Style Icons: Male »Norman Norell

Dean of American Fashion

Because the name Norman Norell doesn’t live on in the form of a cheap line of cosmetics, sunglasses or perfume, his name is not as well known as it once was. It’s a shame because he was really a fantastic designer – one that began by dressing Ziegfeld girls and Gloria Swanson. No wonder the man knew his way around floor length sequins.

He was respected by French couturiers and we all know how snobby they can be, right? But his impeccable eye for detail and easy glamour was undeniably admirable. A great bio of the man dubbed “The Dean of American Fashion”, who did so much to further New York’s reputation in the fashion world can be read here.

While several of his designs were featured in the excellent American High Style show at the Brooklyn Museum, it’s been decades since a Met retrospective of his work. Michelle Obama’s ingeniously stylish choice to wear one of his vintage frocks to a Christmas event, though, brought some new attention and interest in this master of design.

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Posted on March 29, 2011

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