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August 27 2014

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Undergoing A Fitness Revolution With Damien Hirst’s “Missus”

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Maia Norman, long-term girlfriend of Damien Hirst (he calls her his “missus”) and mom of their three children, describes herself as a “live wire.” That explains the whippet-thin, sinewy frame and the glowing skin that sets the diminutive surfer/motocross freak apart from the crowd. It also explains why she opted out of retiring and just happily surfing away when Hirst’s infamous sale at Sotheby’s last year fetched him roughly $150 million. Instead, the Orange County, California, native launched her own collection of “high-technology performance clothes” under the name Mother of Pearl. “Speed is my thing,” she said at an intimate party at art dealer Jay Jopling’s sumptuous London home last night as she mingled with guests like Serena Rees, Erin O’Connor, Saffron Aldridge, and, of course, Hirst. “I need to go fast and so cannot wear anything restrictive or constraining. I need fabrics that breathe, absorb a lot of sweat, and have the visuals to look like I have speed in mind.” And the clothes are flying off the racks at Liberty of London. Yasmin Sewell, the store’s buyer, said, “Maia’s pieces are not only very architecturally designed but also technical. She uses fabrics no one has heard of, like Texfin, which is waterproof and windproof, and she is conceptually at the top of the heap of designers who are increasingly doing this stuff. I put her next to Balmain and Alexander McQueen in the international room, and we just can’t keep the stuff in stock.” Norman, who is also branching out into the music world by managing a band, explained, “There is a fitness revolution going on. We are finding outdoor activities that we love—everyone is getting bored of the gym. It’s a different way of staying fit and strong. We need the clothes for that, and voilà, here I am.” In her skintight orange dress with cupola shoulders, there could be no better model for the collection than Norman herself.

Photo: Jonathan Hordle / Rex USA

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