Long before ‘wellness’ made its way into our vocabulary, Norma Kamali was putting healthy rituals at the heart of her brand. The legendary New York designer who dressed Studio 54, was an early force in creating what would later be termed ‘athleisure’. With the puffer coat and high heeled sneaker among her other design innovations, she has always been one step ahead.

Growing up in NYC in the 1950s, Kamali’s mother was an advocate for juicing, encouraging a life-long dedication to plant-based living. The loss of many dear friends to the AIDS virus in the 1980s would intensify her search for natural products and self-care practices.

black and white beauty and wellness products owned by Norma Kamali
A peek inside this bathroom cabinet of designer by Norma Kalamli

Today, her 56th street flagship boutique boasts a wellness cafe, and she has recently ventured into skincare with the launch of her lifestyle range, NORMALIFE.

For Kamali, life is about aging with power, ‘anti-aging’ and ‘anti-wrinkle’ are words we should eliminate from descriptions of aging, she says. ‘You look good for your age is another!’ A good night’s sleep underpins all of her self-care practices. Preparation for sleep begins the minute you wake and everything you do throughout the day affects your sleep, not just when you put your head on the pillow.

Here, the designer shares with us the seven steps to her healthy morning rituals - from sun salutations to steam showers and green juices.

Wake up early

I require seven to eight hours sleep a night and therefore I am in bed early to wake up at 5am. My bedroom is dark and the temperature cool and I wake up without an alarm. By waking up early I have time to follow my morning rituals. A good sleep is so important for me as it diffuses the stresses of the day, but I also find that many of my creative ideas come to me in my sleep, or just as I wake.

Brush teeth with tooth soap

The ingredients from tooth soap [sugar-free tooth cleaning droplets] work as a pulling method to remove bacteria from the mouth. I then use a mouth rinse called Swish that alkalines the body.

black and white illustration of woman meditating in leopard spandex and glasses
Illustrations by Gian Furlan 

Drink lemon and ginger warm water

I use lemon and ginger as a morning tea that is comforting but also helps with the elimination of toxins. The lemon and ginger are digestives and prepare me for a later on break of the fast.

Cat cow stretches and sun salutations

The energy of the movements for 15 minutes helps the blood flow.

black and white illustration of woman doing yoga posses in leopard spandex and glasses
Illustrations by Gian Furlan 

Breathing meditation

I sit comfortably and let my heart and mind settle into my breath and slow the breath to long slow repetitions. I dedicate my meditation everyday and my mind starts a creative idea process that works best in the morning. I have been practicing meditation since 1970.

Steam shower

Before I shower I fully do a dry massage with SMOOTH my exfoliant, made with charcoal and aloe and finely ground olive pits all over face and body. As the colour changes from black to a pale shade I enter the shower and rinse my skin to a smooth moisturised finish. I turn on the steam and breath in the moisture. Steam showers are like moisturisers for the sinuses and especially important with the challenging air environment. 

Illustrations by Gian Furlan 

Break my fast

On the 16th hour after my last meal, I have my most important meal of the day. I start with a large green smoothie. Then in an hour or so I will have a salad with greens, beans, olives, tomatoes, avocado and berries with lemon olive oil and sea salt.

If you give this time to your well being in the morning, it makes a statement about how you care for yourself and that interprets into your self-confidence and self-esteem – and in turn folks treat you respectfully. §

black and white illustration of Norma Kamali stretching in leopard spandex and glasses