“There is a confidence that comes alive in Josie’s lingerie….sexy, yet still approachable. We mirrored that feeling in the fragrance, showcasing the signature Sampaquita flower from Josie’s native Philippines with texture from patchouli and woods, and bold strokes of color.” — Perfumer Frank Voelkl and Master Perfumer Honorine Blanc
253 Elizabeth St.
New York, NY
In November, Natori, a long-time Asian Cultural Council (ACC) trustee, and renowned artist and ACC alumnus Cai Guo-Qiang, were honored at ACC’s 50th Anniversary Celebration benefit gala at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York. Click here to read more about Asian Cultural Council.
“I have always believed there are no boundaries,” says Josie Cruz Natori, founder and CEO of The Natori Company. Exemplifying her own mantra, Josie Natori crossed continents, navigated varying careers, and surmounted countless obstacles, to create a global brand, Natori.
Born Josephina Almeda Cruz, she credits her entrepreneurial nature to the matriarchal society she grew up in along with the support of her close-knit Filipino family. “Women are encouraged to be entrepreneurs,” says Natori of her home country, the Philippines. “My grandmother always said, ‘Don’t put yourself in a position where you have to depend on anyone.’” It seemed like serendipity when the very place she grew up, the place that instilled her with the motivation to become an entrepreneur, was also the inspiration for what turned into a successful lingerie collection; a hand embroidered Filipino blouse. Using an Asian aesthetic, Natori was able to build a distinct brand, melding the visual appeals of both the East and the West.
But Natori did not always want to be in the fashion industry; in fact it was never even in her plans. As a child Natori displayed a natural affinity for the piano, performing a solo concert with the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra at age 9. Born with an ear for music and an eye for art, Natori did not pursue a career in what came so naturally. Instead she decided to challenge herself with a career in business.
At the age of 17, Natori left Manila for New York where she studied economics at Manhattanville College. Following graduation, she ascended the corporate ladder landing at Merrill Lynch as the first female Vice President of investment banking. By 1976, the rising Wall Street star had married Ken Natori, then Executive Managing Director of Smith Barney, and had given birth to her son Kenneth Jr. By 1977, looking for new challenges and bored with her position, Josie was eager to start something new.
Natori considered a number of entrepreneurial ventures, but none of them seemed to take. On a whim she brought an embroidered blouse from her native country of the Philippines to a buyer at Bloomingdale’s. The buyer encouraged her to turn it into a sleep shirt, Natori took the advice and she was in business! “At the time, lingerie was either lewd or frumpy,” said Natori, who worked to fill the niche in between. More than three decades later the company has grown into a lifestyle brand that has come to include lingerie collections (Josie Natori, Natori, Josie and N Natori), the Josie Natori ready-to-wear collection, home, fragrance and eyewear.
“I love my work, but success in fashion is not enough,” says Natori, who sits on the boards of the Asian Cultural Council, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Women in Need and the Fashion and Design Council of the Philippines. She is also a member of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) and the Committee of 200. In 1988 Natori was honored for her achievements with the Galleon award, presented by Corazon Aquino, then President of the Republic of the Philippines. In 2007, Natori was given the prestigious Lakandula Award from President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, considered the highest honor for a Filipino citizen. She also received Fashion Group International’s prestigious Humanitarian Award. “I want to be able to give something back, to make a difference in people’s lives.” To that end, she established facilities in the Philippines to handle 50% of all Natori production.
Two-Time Tony Award Nominee André De Shields, Bowman Wright, E. Faye Butler, KenYatta Rogers, Jessica Frances Dukes and Michael Anthony Williams Set for Arena Stage’s King Hedley II, February 6- March 8, 2015
Photos: BC/EFA Gypsy of The Year Celebrates 40th Anniversary of THE WIZ Featuring André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ken Page, Charl Brown, Carly Hughes, Christina Sajous, Alton Fitzgerald White, Lillias White and More
Unsuk Chin’s Opera Alice in Wonderland, Featuring Libretto Co-Written with David Henry Hwang, Set for UK Premiere at the Barbican Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Novels on March 8, 2015
Photos: André De Shields, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ken Page, Charl Brown, Carly Hughes, Alton Fitzgerald White, Lillias White in 40th Anniversary of The WIZ Tribute at BC/EFA’s GYPSY OF THE YEAR; Competition Breaks Records With Over $5 Million as Hugh Jackman’s THE RIVER Brings in Top Donation
Photos: Ellen Burstyn, Baz Luhrmann, John Leguizamo, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Stephen McKinley Henderson, John Patrick Shanley, David Henry Hwang, Liza Colón-Zayas, Kenneth Lonergan and More Celebrate Stephen Adly Guirgis at The Mimi Awards
Photos: Tommy Tune, Bob Avian, Lee Roy Reams, Christine Toy Johnson, Orville Mendoza, Lori Tan Chinn, Raul Aranas, Virginia Wing and More Celebrate 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award Recipient Baayork Lee
Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.
All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at email@example.com