Tuesday, April 6, 2010


11 West 56th Street, NYC

Words/Images Judith Ecochard

We had two Norma Kamali moments this past week…after we visited the West 56th Street NYC townhouse that serves as the mothership for the NK brand.

The first one occurred when we finally cracked open the tome, Vogue…the “SHAPE” issue…a bewildering (for us), but visually interesting, assortment of style suggestions for--- hypothetically speaking--- a cross section of women’s body types.

There was an article on juices or what we call super liquids as food substitutes/fasting diets…a trend brought to life by bestselling books, celebs’ accolades etc.

The second NK moment occurred when we got an email announcing Norma Kamali’s e-commerce/interactive iPad app…ready to download should one be so lucky to own the latest Apple gadget.

To the later we thought, of course…as this designer is always at the forefront of technology that enables consumers to Buy It Now Wherever They Are…or to get the 411 on the fashion brand--- on their pda’s.

To the first brain cells’ jog…it reminded us of how scolding the article seemed to us…and what a direct contrast to the relaxed, try it if you want--- vibe…we felt--- as we learned more about Norma Kamali’s MO on a “non-processed food lifestyle”…

… for consumers to experience in the step down, first floor level of her light filled, art loft like boutique- in midtown Manhattan.

It is here that a store within a store exists--- with art and lifestyle books for sale; delicious (light tasting, aromatic) olive oils specially sourced by Norma Kamali herself…and the main ingredients in her non-chemical skincare and massage oils’ wellness collection,

…and a welcoming café that sells NYC based, ORGANIC AVENUE’s Vegan juices, smoothies and soups delivered daily (in easy to recycle/return glass bottles).

Also for sale here is the line of therapeutic scents (try the spicy SEDUCTIVE---a YSL Opium-like scented one) and certified organic skin/hair care collection, INTELLIGENT NUTRIENTS, founded by Horst M. Rechelbacher, a healthy lifestyle advocate/guru that launched Aveda. (And we met him once too…a smart businessman who is committed to environmental causes).

This upscale assortment of products includes certified organic lip balms, hair care, anti-aging serums/moisturizer/cleanser/mist, body cleansers etc ---all with the mission to naturally battle free radicals that ‘attack’ the skin.

We tried everything actually. We were there on a Friday so we had a few swigs of the delish milkshake thick but dairy free Mint Chip Smoothie--- made with Coconut meat, vanilla, spearmint, Agave and cacao. Yummy and really filling…and we note, all of the plant-based offerings are low in calories.

We also has a glorious hand massage …with the thick, but instantly absorbed Olive Oil Calcium Liniment crème…part of a suite of olive oil based products that includes a massage oil, a clay masque, and cleanser soap.

While we were told how one happy client used it successfully to treat her eczema…an auto-immune skin condition---we thought ok, good for her. But we slathered some on this funky poison ivy like rash we picked up hiking…and a few hours later; saw visible improvement in clearing it up. WOW.

There’s also info and DVDs by the exercise studio- PHYSIQUE 57, founded by alum of the famous Lotte Berke studios. Norma Kamali (who has the physique of a dancer in the company of her fav…(and ours) Twyla Tharp)…is a customer of the East 57th Street facility.

We found it interesting that these services and products have found an outlet in primo retail real estate

But that is part of what makes Norma Kamali an interesting, well-rounded person who lives her passions, and not  “just” a business entrepreneur.

 From the Norma Kamali WalMart Collection