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Something strange happened during New York Fashion Week—at the presentation of Norma Kamali’s spring 2012 collection this past September, the industry’s most frozen-faced elite looked on, and (crack) smiled. Having been given 3-D glasses at the door—in Kamali’s iconic cat-eye shape, of course—editors marveled at the giant projection of a 3-D fashion show, featuring her “dancehall girls” shimmying and twirling right off the screen to the sultry singing of Imelda May. The result was pure delight, the energy in the room almost ebullient. People were having (gasp) fun at a fashion show.

Kamali, who says she has “always felt like an outsider” and therefore feels “comfortable on that edge,” gave up traditional runway shows long ago: “I really felt that there are so many new ways to tell a story,” she explains. “Not this sour girl walking down the runway looking very unlike anybody that you would ever want to be—whether they’re beautiful or not—it’s just uncomfortable how unnecessary it seems when you look at it.” Instead, she opts for mini fashion films, which the very democratic designer makes available online. The 3-D campaign is no exception, Kamali fans can receive free glasses here, as well as shop in 3-D on her website. Before buying a dress, you can see the way it moves right before your nose, without leaving the comfort of your chair.

Related: Read about Norma Kamali in Departures' January/February 2012 issue.

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