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NEW YORK — The House of Natori was feted last Thursday at a cocktail party and informal fashion show at the Asia Society in Manhattan, where more than 350 retail and entertainment executives sipped on exotic Lychee martinis served by waiters and waitresses dressed à la Natori in Asian tea party-printed silk pajamas.
Indicating the power the Natori name wields at retail during this shaky economy, almost every major store executive turned out to celebrate the house’s 25th anniversary, including Federated’s Terry Lundgren, Bloomingdale’s Michael Gould, J.C. Penney’s Allen Questrom, Burt Tansky and Joan Kaner of Neiman Marcus, Burberry’s Rose Marie Bravo, and retail veteran Marvin Traub, as well as CitiGroup’s Sandy Weill, TV journalists Deborah Norville and Ashley Bamfield and soap opera diva Susan Lucci.
Traub, the former Bloomingdale’s chairman turned consultant, noted: “This is a special occasion for me because I opened the first Natori boutique at Bloomingdale’s. She had a totally fresh and new approach that was ready-to-wear inspired.”
Regarding Josie Natori’s milestone in the intimates industry, Tansky observed: “She’s not only a sensational entrepreneur and a great partner of Neiman Marcus, she’s a very astute businesswoman. She has a good sense of what a customer wants and develops products to meet their needs.”
“Josie is one of the most creative people I know in the business. She and her husband Ken are very warm and enthusiastic about everything they do,” said Questrom.
“Josie is dynamic,” said Eric Wiseman, president of VF Corp.’s Vanity Fair Intimate Apparel Coalition. “She brings ideas and enthusiasm and helps to create a strong business direction.”
Meanwhile, as guests began leaving the party, Bamfield was searching for her date.
“Guess he must be with one of those Natori models,” she joked.