Throughly Modern Natori
Tootsies & Twitter: A fashion heavyweight reveals all over cyber bonding
One would think that after 33 years in the fashion business, Josie Natori would be content to sit back and relax.
After all, her apparel empire includes undergarments, lingerie, sleep and lounge wear, plus home accessories, eyewear and fragrances. But no, Natori is busy working on her latest ready-to-wear collection and deciphering the hows and whys of Twitter.
“Does Twitter really matter? What do people like to read about on Twitter?” she asks.
We are chatting by the Tootsies dressing rooms and poring over her Blackberry while women survey themselves in the mirror. She is a whisper of a woman, with expressive eyes and immense energy. In Houston to lunch with some of her most devoted customers, Natori takes her latest venture and the one-on-one time with the women who wear her clothes very seriously, calling the time “energizing.”
“As a designer, it’s wonderful to be able to draw from so many points of view. I want to be able to dress all kinds of women whether they are extra small to extra, extra large. By coming to Tootsies and talking to women, my collection will evolve,” Natori says.
It’s one thing to see Natori’s designs on a hanger, but once a woman is living and moving in her clothes, she knows where to makes changes.
“I am in for the long haul and really enjoying the challenge of dressing busy women,” she says.
Natori easily relates to her customers. A self-proclaimed shopaholic, she confesses she would easily be her best client. When she's not sitting along a Fashion Week runway, searching for fabrics and working with her design team, she roams Parisian flea markets. She feeds her obsession for Asian textiles at Porte de Clignancourt and others around the city where she has had an apartment for 26 years.
“My relaxation is to hunt and discover new things at the flea markets where I look for things for our home and the garden,” Natori says wistfully. Her latest find took even her by surprise—a floor-length panther coat.
“I don’t buy vintage but this was so stunning, I had to have it," she says. "I did leave it in Paris though.”
Her BlackBerry, however, is always by her side and by the time we are wrapping up the interview, she is emboldened about her using her Twitter account (@josienatori).
“You can really Twitter about anything?” she asks.
Moments later, Natori posts the following on her account. “Had a fun intimate lunch today at Tootsie's in Houston with some of their top customers!” She followed that Tweet with, “Met a fellow twitter Heather @ShopChic at Tootsies's Houston. You were so great to encourage me to master tweeting as I feel incompetent!”
Looks like Natori is adding Twitter Goddess to her list of accomplishments.