With Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swim aboutto rock The Raleigh July 15 to 19, we knew Norma Kamali was the ideal choice for an impromptu Q&A. She’s fashioned parachutes into ball-gown skirts and can wrap a length of jersey around your body 30 different ways, but Kamali is a virtual goddess in the swim industry, designing sought-after suits that are equal parts retro and glam since 1976. With an early ambition to be a painter, Kamali (at her mother’s insistence) instead studied fashion illustration in New York, which makes utter sense when you peruse her Classic Jersey collection, imbued with a ’40s-inspired vibe that puts one in mind of Vargas girls. Her Goddess Swim collection, meanwhile, looks tailor-made for a Greek temple, and her white Ruffle bikini would suit Marilyn Monroe in Some Like It Hot just swimmingly. While she just turned 65, don’t expect Kamali to have one eye on a retirement plan: Last September she turned an Apple store into a fashion runway and earlier this spring was one of the first designers to launch an iPad app. All of which means you can expect the woman who excels at bathing beauties to ride a creative wave for years to come.

What’s the ideal Miami swimming pool to party at?
I like to swim in pools so I prefer at friends.

What three things are essential for a fabulous day in the sun?
flat stomach, big hat, fun friends.

What celebrities would you love to see wearing one of your suits?
Marilyn Monroe and Grace Kelly.

What’s the best trend in bathing suits as of late?
Best trend is that there is no trend, anyting goes.

What’s your greatest indulgence in life?
My dog Zeko

Where will you vacation this summer?
In a shack on a farm by the ocean.

What’s the most flattering bathing suit color?
The most flattering on a great body is nude.

Describe your ideal afternoon in the sun.
There are two ideal afternoons.

1. friends eating, cooking, swimming, playing games on the beach and lots of competitive sports

2. alone on the ocean, either kyacking or meditating quietly under the sun.

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