Barbra Streisand wore this stunning Norman Norell, gold, fully sequined body suit in “Color Me Barbra” (1966). Barbra had purchased this piece herself at Filene’s Basement while she was in Boston for “I Can Get It For You Wholesale.” A sheer chiffon orange cape, with matching flowing bell bottomed pants, designed by Ray Diffen, were added over the suit for filming. This bodysuit was also featured on posters promoting Streisand’s Newport, RI show. Ray Diffen had previously constructed all of Irene Sharaff’s designs for Barbra in the “Funny Girl” Broadway run. Norell (1900-1972) produced many designs using this same sequined fabric.
This pajama style bodysuit was fully footed and made of silk chiffon, with a back zipper closure. There is zipper closure at both cuffs. Norman Norell went solo as a designer in 1960, from his former partnership Traina-Norell. During the heyday of Traina-Norell, Norell established the basic designs that carried him through his career. The designer’s body-fitting, sequined gowns, known as “mermaid dresses,” were first shown in the 1940s.
He was the first designer to win the Coty American Fashion Critics’ award. Norell took his inspiration from the 1920s and his favorite designer, Chanel. Slinky, spangled evening dresses combined 1920s straight silhouettes with modern opulence. Norell suffered a stroke only one day before his retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He died days later on October 25th, 1972. This bodysuit most recently sold at auction in 2013 for $5,948.00 USD.