Now that Hirst is reportedly the world’s richest living artist, with a fortune estimated at $1 billion, the couple works hard to swat off potential sycophants. “We’ve been in this long enough to know how to steer clear of the take-advantage riffraff and to keep a low profile, though it can be trying,” Norman says. “A lot of our friends we’ve known since the old days. It’s so important to have people around you who accept you in your entirety.” Not that she and Hirst don’t have a blast. “Of course there are perks, like good restaurant tables and meeting interesting people,” Norman acknowledges. “That’s a real privilege.”
Wearing a zip-front dress with killer shoulders—a Mother of Pearl best-seller—neoprene Pierre Hardy shoes and an antique emerald-cut diamond (a gift from Hirst while he was creating For the Love of God, his diamond-encrusted-skull work), she muses briefly on the stone’s old-fashioned shape, which she loves. “I never thought I would be the kind of girl who would wear a diamond ring,” she says. “But Damien does have great taste. He can find me shoes! I’m sure if he’d come to me with a round diamond or a teardrop, I would have vomited all over it.”
The straight-shooting Norman says Mother of Pearl, which retails for $140 to $3,200, is for “active, optimistic, generous” women, the type who don’t let inclement weather get in the way of a good time. Fans include pals Lily Allen, Catherine Bailey, Sam Taylor-Wood, Elle Macpherson and Serena Rees, cofounder of Agent Provocateur. The line features such pieces as a short water-resistant cashmere coat with lots of pockets and a silk lining, a satin raincoat with magnetic fastenings to slip over an evening dress, and a lightweight perforated-leather biker jacket.
Yet the collection, which sells at Maxfield in Los Angeles and Miami, and Liberty and Start in London, isn’t all about battling the elements—or even the occasional spilled glass of bubbly. For spring Norman drew inspiration from the art world, using prints by Mat Collishaw, one of the Young British Artists and a friend of Hirst’s, and by American painter Walton Ford. She says there’s talk of doing a surfing-inspired capsule collection for Maxfield, for which she hopes to use prints by mixed-media artist Ashley Bickerton, who lives in Bali. Norman, a self-described “bad petrolhead” who’s just as happy talking about hose clamps as she is about treated silks, also called on graphic designer Milly Wright—whose work she spotted in the upscale car magazine Intersection—to design the exhaust pipe and hubcap prints for the spring collection’s silk crepe dresses.