HONOR ROLL: Josie Natori received the Edward Cardinal Egan Humanitarian Award Tuesday night from the Catholic Guardian Services’ 33rd annual Children of Peace awards at the Pierre Hotel.
CGS is one of the state’s largest foster-care providers, helping more than 1,000 children annually in the New York City area. The group also helps individuals with developmental disabilities and offers family support services.
Natori said the organization serves thousands of families who are in need because of homelessness, domestic abuse or needing foster care. “In this industry of ours, it’s nice to see some Christian conscience,” she said.
The designer got to know Cardinal Egan about 15 years ago. At that time, he encouraged her to help the archdiocese of New York, Natori said. (Her humanitarian efforts also extend to her native Philippines.)
She and the cardinal, who died three years ago, also shared another interest — playing the piano. As a seminarian in Europe, there was a piano that allowed him to play regularly. More recently, Natori and the cardinal performed parts of a concerto at a donor dinner that she hosted in her home.
“Just participating and giving back in different ways — where you can — is part of what we need to do,” she said. “He inspired me to do whatever I can. Obviously, there’s so much [to do] and we’re all overloaded.”
Often away for business travel, Natori said she missed “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. With more than 1.6 million visitors to the Met’s Fifth Avenue location and The Met Cloisters, the show is now the museum’s all-time most visited show, topping the 1978 “Treasures of Tutankhamun” with 1.36 million visitors. Natori said of the record-breaking religious-themed show, “Maybe they were bringing in a whole other audience that wasn’t necessarily fashionistas.”
The Met show had the support of two others of New York’s archdiocese — Christine and Stephen A. Schwarzman — as well as Versace.
Earlier this year Natori, chief executive officer of her signature company, was honored by her alma mater Manhattanville College with an honorary degree.