NEW YORK — Lingerie designer Josie Natori and TV soap star Susan Lucci of ABC’s “All My Children” are teaming up this evening at a cocktail party at the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship to turn the grassroots movement, Women in Need, into a national cause.
Lucci will be the spokesperson for the two-week WIN-Natori campaign, which began Sunday and runs through May 8, Mother’s Day. The nonprofit organization WIN, which currently operates on mainly a regional basis, serves homeless and disadvantaged women and their families.
“Thousands of women in New York have been helped to get back on their feet with WIN, and Josie asked me if I would get involved in this particular organization,” said the Emmy Award-winning Lucci, who is active in a number of charities. “I thought I could give it a national presence. I was encouraged by my mother to do charity work and I love to do it. WIN is like a perfect adjunct for me.”
Natori said the goal is to give WIN national exposure through bra-fitting seminars and promotions at Saks and Nordstrom stores nationwide. Special events featuring Natori product such as bras, panties, sleepwear, robes and daywear will be staged at a number of Saks stores as well as 80 Nordstrom doors, Natori said.
The Saks cocktail event, which is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. in the ninth-floor lingerie department, also will be hosted by Saks Fifth Avenue’s chairman, Fred Wilson. An undisclosed portion of sales of all Natori innerwear sold during the two-week promotion will be donated to WIN, Natori said.
Lucci’s daughter, Liza Huber, who stars as young socialite Gwen Winthrop in the NBC soap opera “Passions,” will make a personal appearance with Natori on Saturday at Nordstrom’s store in South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, Calif., and Sunday at the Bellevue Square store in Bellevue, Wash., near Seattle. WIN also will partner with the United Way in out-of-town markets, said Natori.
Tonja Kuntz, vice president and corporate merchandise manager of sleepwear at Nordstrom, said, “We have a lot of RSVPs. We’ll first have a private event with 50 to 100 people, which will be followed by personal appearances of Josie Natori and Liza Huber in the lingerie department.”
Natori said, “This has no connection with fashion, but the Natori company is about women, entrepreneurship and education. This organization provides shelter for homeless women and children. We like the idea of making women feel good about themselves and rewarding them.”
Jessica Mitchell, senior vice president of sales, marketing and merchandising at Natori, said “special full-page Mother’s Day” ads for WIN will appear in four May magazines: In Style, Harper’s Bazaar, Redbook and Shop Etc. The ad, created in-house by Mitchell and Natori’s creative staff, features a close-up of a woman and a girl holding hands with copy saying, “Hand in hand. Side by side. Women helping women in need.” The tag line is “Together.”
Natori’s connection with WIN also will be evident May 5 at the annual Outstanding Mother Awards luncheon hosted by the National Mother’s Day Council. Natori will be one of six people receiving awards. The others will be Aerin Lauder, vice president of Estée Lauder; Linda Wells, founding editor in chief of Allure magazine; entertainer Reba McEntire, talk show host Joy Philbin, and celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich. All proceeds of the Mother’s Day luncheon will benefit WIN, said a spokeswoman.