June 05, 2012 New York
Having returned from the Philippines just last week (her tenth trip this year), Josie Natori couldn't help but use the "happy colors" and memories of the country's island sunsets as inspiration. "There is such creativity there," the designer said. "After 35 years in the business, I thought it was appropriate to finally incorporate it in my work." The bold colors of the region's straw mats, which are often used for sleeping, lent themselves well to Natori's collection. Most memorable were a pair of bright fuchsia ankle-crop cigarette pants and a cyan blue kimono dress with a cinched waist. Interspersed among the solid separates were a few eye-catching prints, designed with the "psychedelic" Philippine jeepneys in mind. A popular mode of public transportation that originated after World War II, the long buslike jeeps were decorated to show off the drivers' personalities and, of course, garner the attention of people on the street. We bet Natori's take—a silk wrap dress with a crisscrossed top and fluid skirt—will do exactly the same thing for her customer.