American fashion designer Norma Kamali may have designed Farrah Fawcett’s iconic red bathing suit but she wasn’t a fan.
Kamali spoke to David Yontef for his “Behind The Velvet Rope” podcast, admitting she was “horrified” when Fawcett opted for that bathing suit for her famous 1976 poster.
The fashionista shared, “Well, you know, at the time a lot of designers [worked] very closely with celebrities and I did, I worked with so many people and Farrah was a really good customer.
“She lived in L.A. but she shopped a lot in New York and she was in New York a lot. And she was as beautiful inside and out, truly, truly, truly, truly a lovely person… she bought a lot of nice swimwear and I had no idea that she bought that swimsuit.
“She just would come in and shop and buy things. And when I saw the poster, I was horrified because I did a lot of testing and I tested that style. I did six swimsuits and I put it in the store and I thought, I’m not going to make that one again… it’s not good. It’s not. I don’t like what I did.”
“And then I see it on the poster and I thought, What? Who? Oh my God. So I said, ‘Why did you wear that?’ Like, ‘Why that suit of all the suits?’ She didn’t have a whole squad putting her together. She basically was with the photographer and it was [a] very low-key, low-maintenance kind of thing.
“She had the suit in her bag and she said they always decided they would take pictures and one day, if they had one shot they really loved, they would make a poster out of it. That was the shot. So I literally went along for the ride with that one. That swimsuit had nothing to do with the success of that poster. I’ll tell you that.”
Yontef then asked whether she had to grudgingly make more given the success of the look.
“Well, what I did was, I fixed it. There were things about it I really didn’t like and I made it better and different.
“When the Smithsonian asked if I would allow them to use the swimsuit in this exhibit I said, ‘Just a question… I know you could say no, but would it be okay if I did a new version of that?’ And they said, ‘No, it’s not okay. We want the one she wore.’ So there it is, memorialized in the Smithsonian. So there you go.”
Fawcett passed away in June 2009 at age 62 after a battle with cancer.