SOCIAL CLIMBER: Josie Natori’s free-spirit, nomadic chic

Fur in the Fall. Photos by Elton Lugay

By Elton Lugay

Talk about art and fashion colliding nicely on a fragrant Valentine’s Day afternoon.

I’m talking about Josie Natori’s press preview where she unveiled her Fall ‘12 ready-to-wear collection inspired by Tibetan serenity and held at the Rubin Museum bathed in graceful Himalayan art.

“This collection has been an evolution for us,” said Natori speaking to reporters after the show. “Natori has always been about East and West. I’m always inspired by exotic places.”

In this case, Natori took her audience on a style journey to Mongolia, a tiny frontier nation bordered by Russia and China. Twenty-five models showcased Soviet- and Asian-themed elegance via layered jackets embellished in faux fur and textures that contoured the body.

Natori, whose fascination with Mongolian nomads and their unique customs, defined her ensemble such that “they’re easy pieces to mix and match.”

Mongolia may be the central theme of her stunning collection, but the embroidery that embellished some of her clothes was Philippine-made.

“All the embroidery is made in the Philippines,” she said. Even the necklace with a semi-precious stone she wore to the preview and the models’ handbags are Filipino-crafted.

“About 50 percent of what you saw today are made in the Philippines. I am very proud of everything about the Philippines,” she proclaimed.

In November, Natori opened her first Philippine boutique through Rustan’s.

“We had a very successful lingerie and lounge-wear collection launching and they’ve been so welcoming. And with my sneak preview of this RTW, Rustan’s responded immediately. We’re now opening two more shops in March,” she revealed.

Natori said her clothes are perfect for the lifestyle in the Philippines.

A sidebar: The models came down through a winding staircase. Not an easy job if you’re wearing tall, flimsy heels. The models would constantly look down to make sure there was a step to catch their feet. Falling down on one’s face is one thing – it’s been done before — but rolling down the stairs would be a novelty no fashion house could risk.

The unflappable Natori thought an art gallery venue was “just perfect.”

“I believe nothing in life is an accident. I don’t know how it came to be, I’m just glad we did it here,” she said.

The author shoots Josie Natori a question.

STYLIST is Annabelle Tollman
HAIR by Tadashi Harada for Shiseido
MAKEUP by Ai Nieda for Shiseido
All accessories and handbags by Josie Natori

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