Josie Natori Gives Us A Glimpse Of How She And Her Family Spend The Holidays In New York City
A woman of style and substance, Josie Natori is a well-respected icon in the global fashion scene and a constant source of Pinoy pride. Her compelling immigrant success story continuously inspires—what with her being able to establish and maintain a 40-year-old label that stays relevant to this day and age.
Josie left Manila when she was just 17 to study economics at Manhattanville College in New York. After graduating, she immediately powered up and climbed the corporate ladder, landing at Merrill Lynch as the first female Vice President of investment banking. Come 1977, she decided to explore entrepreneurial ventures and found an opportunity to start a lingerie business when she brought an embroidered blouse from the Philippines to a buyer at Bloomingdale’s. The buyer encouraged her to turn it into a sleep shirt. After following that advice, the rest, as they say, is history. Josie was able to build the Natori Company, a lifestyle brand which has since expanded to include not just lingerie collections but ready-to-wear, home, fragrance, and eyewear collections.
Having lived a significant amount of her life in New York City, there is no better woman to ask about the city that never sleeps and how holidays are spent in this side of the world than Josie. In this exclusive Q&A, she shares her holiday traditions and her favorite spots in NYC.
In the office with Kenneth Natori Jr.
1. What are the city's unique traditions for the holidays?
There are so many activities in New York. Families get their photos by the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, watch the Rockettes in Radio City Music Hall, catch the Nutcracker Suite in Lincoln Center, look at store window displays on 5th Avenue, and of course, see the Times Square Ball Drop for the New Year's countdown. Restaurants are bustling this time of year, and locals of all nationalities have their own type of party at home. It's a delight to watch the holiday lights go up all along Fifth and Park Avenues.
Anika with Zoe, Cruzzie, and Kenneth Natori Jr. at the Nutcracker Suite in Lincoln Center
2. Describe your time-honored family traditions for the holiday season.
For the last 15 years, I've had the same decorator come to the apartment to dress up the apartment, including the Christmas tree. Holiday dinners are usually catered, but you will always find the same stable of dishes, including turkey, ham, salmon, caviar, and foie gras. Afterwards, I usually play Christmas carols on the piano while guests sing along. Now that I have my two grandchildren, I have a Santa Claus come over to the apartment for photo ops and take them annually to the Lego store. On New Year's Eve, I love having a quiet meal at home with some baked potato and caviar and sleeping early at 10PM.
Santa photo with Cruzzie and Zoe Natori
Holiday photo at home with long-time friends
3. What are the top things to do in city during the holiday season?
Andrea Bocelli has been performing in city over the last two years, so that is a must. The requiem masses in St. Vincent Ferrer and Saint Thomas are also amazing. Of course, the lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and the building facade of Saks Fifth Avenue always impress.
4. Where are the top places to go?
I love the ambiance at 21 Club (21 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019; www.21club.com)
5. Where are the top places to eat?
I'm a creature of habit, so I still eat in my usual restaurants even during the holiday season.
- La Grenouille (3 E 52nd St, New York, NY 10022; www.la-grenouille.com),
- Marjorelle (28 E 63rd St, New York, NY 10065; www.lowellhotel.com/restaurants-and-bar/majorelle/57-1/),
- Harry Cipriani (781 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022; www.cipriani.com/restaurant/?loc=ny-harry)
6. Can you share some secret places which only locals frequent during the season?
Doubles Club is membership-only and is very known for their Christmas lunches (783 5th Ave #414, New York, NY 10022; www.doublesclub.org/alternate/about.html), and you must watch the choir performance in the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem (132 W 138th St, New York, NY 10030; www.abyssinian.org).
Photo from www.natori.com (thumbnail and cover photo)