Josie Natori’s Fall 2023 collection shows you what easy-breezy chic should look like
From Pitoy Moreno to Ramon Valera, several local mid-century designers and couturiers proved Filipinos could excel in the fashion industry. But in the late 70s, Filipino fashion design officially went global.
In 1977, Filipina Wall Street financier Josie Natori left her job at Merrill Lynch to focus on her burgeoning fashion business, where she would design bold and luxurious silk lingerie pieces. By 1978, her business success skyrocketed. Luxury department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf’s stocked her designs. Manhattan’s chicest socialites fawned over her brightly printed silk robes and caftans, and Natori officially became the first Filipino designer label to achieve international success.
45 years later, Natori continues to thrive as a global brand and shows no sign of slowing down. Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Kate Beckinsale and Rosie Huntington-Whitely have worn her designs, and her company has expanded into perfumes and even home furnishings. And what seems to be the secret to her continued success is the distinct Natori look: easy, breezy and dripping in uncomplicated luxury.
This sense of easy luxury remains prevalent in Natori’s Fall 2023 ready-to-wear collection. Inspired by the heady allure and mystic glamour of the Orient Express, the collection is meant to provide jet-setting women with an easy yet oh-so-chic travel wardrobe.
Natori believes in the power of a well-curated capsule wardrobe for travel, and so the majority of the collection is rendered in a stark jet-black hue. Every piece is intended to mix and match with each other to create a variety of ensembles—and lest you think all-black looks are boring, visual interest is brought about by varying textiles from delicate lace to faux lambskin and tightly woven bouclés.
While the brand’s clothes are meant to be easily slipped into, several design details keep the Natori look anything but boring. Asymmetrical hemlines, sumptuous draping and fluttering pleats mark the collection’s silhouettes, while Natori’s trademark 3D embellishments, floral embroidery and laser-cut scroll cutouts lend visual oomph to the garments.
Fans of her trademark printed silks are in for a treat as well. Going beyond her famous lingerie and robes, you can now wear her bright silk prints as exuberant dresses that transition from day to evening seamlessly, sumptuous blouses or as relaxed tailored suits with eye-popping patterns to spread the holiday cheer.
Josie Natori, after all, always sought to make the act of dressing as simple and fuss-free as possible, with the knowledge that modern women are busier than ever and have several items running through their minds at any given point of the day. “The concept is to make dressing not a chore, it should be effortless,” she says in an interview. “It should work for us, not we work for it.”
This uncomplicated approach to dressing seems very liberating and in a way, distinctly Filipino. After all, how often have we worn a great dress to work—and with a few key accessory changes, headed straight to a cocktail party? Although this mindset of easy luxury and uncomplicated glamour has been in play for several decades now, with her latest Fall collection Natori proves that looking phenomenal day-to-day does not have to be a chore.
Natori’s Fall 2023 collection is exclusively available at Rustan’s.
Words Jer Capacillo
Photos Josie Natori
Art Macky Arquilla