Thirty-one years after Saks Fifth Avenue gave Josie Natori her big break by carrying her innerwear collection, the retailer is at it again — this time with the designer’s first ready-to-wear collection.
This fall her new Natorious label will be sold in 35 Saks Fifth Avenue doors, including the Fifth Avenue flagship in Manhattan, where a 700-square-foot concept shop is now in place in the fourth-floor atrium. Natori was wearing pieces from the line — an off-the-shoulder top and viscose skirt and belt — when she inspected the new space Friday.
“I wouldn’t be in business today if Saks didn’t believe in what I did. Saks was the first to buy my line,” she said. “This is one of the most important things we have done in our company.”
In fact, Joseph Boitano, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of Saks, encouraged Natori to get into rtw and was on hand last week to see the finished results. The addition of Natorious is one aspect of the retailer’s plan to reinvent its fourth floor, as part of the store’s top-to-bottom overhaul. The floor’s renovations should be a 12-month process and will carry a new name, which Saks executives declined to reveal.
Natorious, a 90-piece collection that retails mostly between $225 and $350, is aimed at women in their 20s through their 60s. There is an abundance of tops and blouses, items that Boitano said are lacking today. The introduction of softer, casual silhouettes such as Natori’s designs reflect Saks reinvention of this zone of business, Boitano said. Well aware many working women can wear suits as they choose, or not at all, in favor of more casual or fashionable pieces, Saks is trying to address that, he said.
Last week, Saks chairman and chief executive officer Stephen I. Sadove noted rtw has been a challenging part of business. But that has presented an opportunity for smart, well-priced collections such as Natori’s, while simultaneously meeting customers’ changing needs, Boitano said.
Natori is so confident about this sector that she expects Natorious to account for 50 percent of her total business within the next five years.
Suzanne Johnson, general manager of the Saks flagship, said, “This is part of our reinvention of modern style. We are bringing in new brands to help take this whole world to a new level.”
“What’s so exciting is that we have a collection that gives fashion, trends and a really good fit for all people — not just for my size,” Natori said.
Elementary as that may sound, fit has become a bone of contention with many designer shoppers, who find themselves sized out of contemporary sportswear and are frustrated by some designers’ tendency to only cut small sizes in abundance.
Natori, who will do a personal appearance in Saks’ Beverly Hills store Oct. 2., set out to design a seasonless collection, which allows shoppers to enhance their wardrobes from one month to the next. “One thing I was very cognizant of was that it would cover the country,” she said, referring to the varying climates from state to state. “These are clothes you can travel in.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast