The designer Norma Kamali and an olive grove in Provence

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Remember that 1970s poster of Farrah Fawcett in a red one-piece bathing suit? Those itty-bitty fringe shorts on Beyoncé in her “Run the World (Girls)” video? The vintage wedding dress Lady Gaga wore in her “You and I” video? All Kamali.

Yet one of the most enduring threads in Ms. Kamali’s life has nothing to do with prêt-à-porter: olive oil. “I’ve had this obsession with olive oil my whole life,” she said. Her mother, who was Lebanese, used it as a massage oil, moisturizer, salt scrub and digestive aid. She slathered olive oil in Ms. Kamali’s hair to protect it in the summer, and she kept olive oil in the fridge so her daughter could spread it on bread. She even used it to strip paint off furniture.

As an adult, Ms. Kamali spent years scouring stores for soaps and creams made with olive oil, though her quest truly began in 2001, during the World Series at Yankee Stadium. She happened to be sitting near a man from Barcelona, Spain, who mentioned that he was planning to bring the best oils from the olive belt in southern Europe to the states. Ms. Kamali revealed her olive obsession and soon had herself an invitation to tag along.

So began the first of what would become a decade of road trips from Barcelona along the coast of Spain and into France and Italy. But of all the orchards that Ms. Kamali has ever visited along the way, her favorite is in Provence, in the South of France, where she thinks the best olive oil in the world is made. “If there was a description of what heaven looks like,” she said, “I would say this is it.”

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