At a cocktail in Rustan’s Makati, actress Iza Calzado stood out in a midnight blue crepe blazer and slim pants with dragon embroidery by the high-end brand Josie Natori.
In white corset top with skull pendant and silver minaudiere (a gift from celebrity doctor Vicki Belo), glittery nail polish and open-toed high-heeled sandals, Calzado looked stunning.
“Only she can get away with this,” said Josefina Cruz-Natori, founder and CEO of The Natori Company, the New York-based fashion house.
Calzado recalled that her first Josie Natori apparel was a white robe with black foliage embroidery. She wore it while being made up for the camera.
Rustan’s Makati recently launched the fall and resort collections of Josie Natori and the bridge line, Natori. Natori’s fashion appeals to women like Bea Zobel and former diplomat Isabel Caro Wilson, who bought the P200,000 beaded silk kaftans.
Guests who wore Josie Natori at the cocktails represented different ages. Former model Frannie Jacinto donned a silk white shift with pink flowers. Dina Arroyo-Tantoco, Rustan’s marketing and communications head, wore a black kimono with white floral embroidery.
Editor Ria Prieto paired an ornately embroidered garden coat as a topper with cigarette pants.
Former model-editorial director Myrza Sison said in jest that she woke up wearing her black, embroidered camisole. Stylist Kat Cruz-Villanueva tucked the latest Natori abstract-printed scuba crepe sheath (think heavier stretch fabric) into a black denim skirt.
That night, socialite Agile Zamora bought printed pajamas which she said could take her from party to bedtime.
The Josie Natori label is famous for silks and intricately embroidered kaftans and blouses for special occasions.
Since the fabrics are imported from Italy and France, the clothes are pricey. A pure silk blouse easily fetches P27,000, while a sheer blouse with peony embroidery costs P40,000.
To reach a wider market, the designer has created the bridge line Natori whose fabrics are sourced from Asia. The polyester and rayon blend mimic the feel of silk.
“I don’t think in fibers. As long as the design looks good and is easy to wear, women don’t care,” Natori said.
The pajama set, whose average price is P8,950, is popular with younger clientele. “It” girl and influencer Martine Cajucom-Ho posted a photo of the pajamas inside a plane.
The embroidered mules, tagged at P7,450, complement the kaftans and pajamas.
“We are focused on being contemporary. Even if I’m 72, who wants to look old? You want to look cool. Eighty percent of my team are millennials. The styles must appeal to them,” said Natori.
Her best model
Being her best model, she wore a black, ponti kimono with dragon print over a bi-stretch wedge dress. Natori accessorized with dragon-shaped hoop earrings in black enamel, contrasted with a white topaz. Her namesake fine jewelry collection was launched in September.
Angara.com, a US-based online jewelry retailer, approached her about customizing for her brand. Crafted in Bangkok and Jaipur, the collection is made of gold, rose gold, silver, platinum, semiprecious stones and diamonds. Prices range from $400 to $40,000 at Bloomingdale’s and Saks. Filipinos can order through Rustan’s.
The brand has to keep evolving, declared Natori.
Plans are afoot to launch the N Natori dresses, a more affordable line, in the Philippines next year.