BOLD AND neutral caftan dresses with embroidery that appeal to young female professionals; printed matching pajamas, and silk lingerie that may be worn for outdoor activities and events — these are some of the statement pieces in Josie Natori’s Fall 2018 and Resort 2019 Ready-to-Wear collection.
Josie Natori (Josephine Almeda Cruz) was born in the Philippines and left Manila at 17 to study in the US. While working in finance, she began importing embroidered tops from the Philippines for a department store in the US. In 1977, she opened House of Natori, a brand known for its East/West aesthetic.
The Fall 2018 collection is inspired from the concept of Japonisme — a French term coined in the late 19th century to describe the craze for Japanese art and design in the West, according to the Tate Modern. The Natori collection is designed with using the colors duchess rose, gilded mint green, orchid pink, persimmon, and imperial violet, with the peacock as the main detail.
“Every collection evolves. It has a kind of decadence,” fashion designer and founder of House of Natori, Josie Natori told BusinessWorld at last week’s launch at the Raffles in Makati.
“I have a love for the arts. I have a love of things in the East. All this gravitated to artful things. There is always something about the East that always captivated me — exoticness and embroidery. I was really entranced by that beautiful work,” she said.
The 2019 Resort collection offers an assortment of mix and match options with vintage kimono prints and oversized brush-stroke prints on silk crepe, denim, and tech nylon.
“It’s very important for the brand to keep evolving and not just appeal to your mother. Your taste or way of life is different from the generation before you,” Ms. Natori told this writer.
“As a brand, you must grow and expand and be relevant. It’s a great challenge. I want both mother and daughter, and grandchild to be liking to wear Natori,” she said of the brand’s expansion to cater to a younger market.
As a brand, Natori’s fashion philosophy is to create timeless designs that women want.
“First of all, nobody needs anything. We have a reason for [wanting] it. It has to be something to seduce them to buy,” Ms. Natori said, adding that it is important to consider new prints, shapes, and colors. “There is so much out there today. We work very hard for our customers to have a reason to want it.
“It’s very important to have the sense of comfort. You don’t have to sacrifice comfort for beauty. It’s artful and it has to be of quality. And I believe in timelessness. You should be able to wear it for many years,” noting that she has clients who have been wearing her designs for about 20 to 30 years.
“We’ve been around for 41 years and I think that’s because we’re consistent in quality and things that women want. Hopefully, we would keep doing it,” she said.
Josie Natori is exclusively available at Rustan’s Makati, Rustan’s Shangri-la, and Rustan’s Cebu. For more information visit, www.natori.com. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman