I received an invitation from Norma Kamali to visit her new Wellness Café. Located at the Norma Kamali flagship store on 56th Street, I was no stranger to the café considering I used to work around the corner. Tucked in the back of her store, it was an olive oil haven. Filled with all types of pastries and snacks (all olive oil based); I was a sucker for the lavender shortbread.
I had heard during New York Fashion Week Norma made some adjustments to her life and was adding more raw and vegan elements into her diet. The café is an extension of Kamaili had thus evolved with her. I was excited to see the changes to the café, and even though I knew the olive oil base would always prevail, I had a feeling this would be the demise of my beloved shortbread.
As some of you know I’ve been on an oil kick for sometime now, olive oil, macadamia nut oil, argon oil, coconut oil, essential oils . . . you get the point. What began as something I only used on my body has now fully been integrated onto my face and hair as part of my regiment. I’ve also been on a recent health kick (or at least trying to be), the downfall of months of traveling and abiding by the ‘there’s no calories on vacation’ rule. And to that all I can say is it’s all fun and games until bathing suit season. So perfect timing for this invitation, I would be in good company, and I can use all the inspiration I can get!
So through the entrance, past the mannequins to the back of the store I go. Aesthetically it’s still very much the original café, however the menu and assortment has drastically changed. I enjoyed listening to Norma as she explained her new health philosophy and how she wanted her café to embody wellness from the inside and out. Partnering with Organic Avenue, the menu behind the counter featured a variety soups and snacks as well as a juice bar fully stocked. The popcorn she once had is now replaced with raw kale chips, and as for the original pastry options, they have been abandoned and replaced with a new assortment of raw, agave nectar based desserts (which are surprisingly delicious). Being the olive oil connoisseur that she is, she bottled her four favorites appropriately named after their region, Grasse, La Mancha, Provence and Tuscany. Adding good oil (and lemon when appropriate) to most dishes is an excellent healthy way to add flavor she explained, for when she goes out to eat and looks to enhance her menu options. We then segued into the skincare section. In addition to her existing line (an olive oil based soap, clay masque, massage oil and liniment), Kamali is now carrying Intelligent Nutrients products by Horst Rechelbacher (the founder of Aveda). She then presented her other little secret for staying in such great shape, Physique 57, the exercise class she attends regularly for which she decided to integrate into her boutique by selling their workout DVDs and equipment.
The great thing about the café is the wonderful flavor and quality it evokes in all of its products. Plus it makes wellness easy and very accessible (there wasn’t a chemical in sight). I should also mention Norma Kamali looks fabulous. Too put it bluntly ‘I’ll have what she’s having’.
Visit the Wellness Café at Norma Kamali Flagship store located at 11 W. 56th Street (between 5th and 6th Avenue). For more information visit www.normakamalicollection.com