Farrah Fawcett’s Red Bathing Suit Was Hated By The Designer


“When I saw the poster, I was horrified.”

Farrah Fawcett‘s iconic red bathing suit photo is now a part of pop culture history, but there’s one person who really didn’t like the image when it first came out.

It turns out that the swimsuit’s designer Norma Kamali really disliked Farrah’s choice of bathing suit for the 1976 photoshoot.


Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images for David Lynch Fou

“I worked with so many people and Farrah was a really good customer…She was as beautiful inside and out, truly, truly, truly, truly a lovely person,” Norma explained on the Behind The Velvet Rope podcast.


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Norma says that Farrah would come in and shop and bought a lot of nice swimwear over the years, but she “had no idea that she bought that swimsuit.”


Abc Photo Archives / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

“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,” Norma confessed.

She added, “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.’


Abc Photo Archives / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Norma says that Farrah explained she had the swimsuit in her bag before the casual shoot and had always agreed with the photographer that if they really loved an image, they would make a poster.

Unfortunately for Norma, the photo went on to become the best-selling pinup poster of all time, selling over 12 million copies worldwide and inspiring everything from t-shirts to action figures.

“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,” Norma joked.


Abc Photo Archives / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

As for the sudden influx of customers looking for the swimsuit? Norma says she had the chance to fix a few things before putting it up for sale.

And when the Smithsonian asked if they could include it in an exhibit, she hesitantly agreed.


Karen Bleier / AFP via Getty Images

“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,” Norma concluded.

Although Norma didn’t love Farrah’s choice of suits, she says she loves when there’s memories attached to the clothes she’s designed — and it’s safe to say there’s a lot of memories attached to that swimsuit!

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