Farrah Fawcett’s 1976 swimsuit-clad photo has gone down in history as one of the most iconic, bestselling posters ever thanks to that hair, that smile and, of course, that red onepiece.
The picture has been immortalized as a Black Label Barbie Collection doll and the legendary red bathing suit has been donated to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. And even though it’s been over 40 years since Fawcett’s famous photo shoot, the designer of that swimsuit, Norma Kamali, is still very grateful for her stroke of luck.
In a recent Instagram, Kamali revealed that she actually disliked the red swimsuit she created before Fawcett’s photo shoot. “I asked Farrah why she wore the RED SWIMSUIT for her famous poster,” she captioned the Instagram. “This was a style I personally did not like and could not believe she chose it for the shoot.”
Turns out, it just happened to be in Fawcett’s bag during her shoot with photographer Bruce McBroom. “We’d been there all day,” McBroom told Entertainment Weekly. “She comes to the door and she’s standing in the doorway in that red suit. And she said, ‘What do you think of this?'”
He knew immediately during her “sitting-up poses” that they got the shot.
In an interview with PeopleStyle, Kamali says she wasn’t happy with the fit of the swimsuit style at the time. “I pride myself on making a great-fitting swimsuit,” she explains. “This was a small group, maybe only six were made as a test.”
So as soon as she saw the photo come out, she “promptly” got busy refitting and perfecting the cut and style until she got it perfect. “First of all, [Fawcett] would make any poster or swimsuit look amazing,” Kamali points out. “I was relieved to perfect the fit so when folks wanted the suit, everyone would have a better chance of looking good. Unfortunately, I can’t imagine anyone reaching the magic of Farrah in the suit in the poster.”
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And all these years later, she’s still offering designs influenced by that iconic red one-piece so everyone can at least attempt to achieve that same Fawcett glow. “We have a style called the racer tank, which is the evolved version of the suit.”
Kamali has started an initiative to thanking the influential people who recognized her brand (like Fawcett) with meaningful Instagram throwback posts. “I was truly fortunate, and am honored to be a part of her legacy,” she writes about the late actress. Other stars coming up in her well wishes include Elvis, John Lennon, Cher, Madonna, Diana Vreeland, Joan Jett, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and many, many more