Natalie and Lisa Fox meet during a trunk show at Bergdorf Goodman in New York in 2000. They quickly realize that they eat lunch each day at Bar Pitti on Sixth Avenue—where Project Alabama makes the uniforms. After making plans to meet the next day for lunch, a lifelong friendship forms. From trunk shows and travels, to “Stitch and Bitch” gatherings and Makeshift dinners, the two collaborate often. Lisa’s business, gallery, and event space, LF8 becomes showroom, and home, for Natalie in New York.
“I met Natalie at Bergdorf Goodman when she was doing a trunk show back in 2000. I had left the store, and the friend I was with at the time called me and told me to go back because I needed to see this designer. I asked the assistant on the floor if Natalie was there, and she went out the back and told Natalie that she had a visitor. I remember when meeting her that I said I wanted to order exactly what she was wearing, and I did. It was the Swing Dress and was paired with the 3/4-length Jacket in black with covered buttons all the way up the front. That was that, and we never looked back.
We discussed that we both frequented Bar Pitti and agreed to meet for lunch one day. It was strange that we’d never met before, and when we had lunch I offered to do some kind of work for her so we came up with private sales. I’d just had my second child and needed a project, so we worked together on private sales when she would visit New York. That was the beginning of our lifelong friendship and sisterhood.
In those days the company was Project Alabama, and Natalie was showing and selling the collection from her then-business partner Enrico’s house on 10th Street. I think it wasn’t too long after our initial meeting that I flew to Alabama for a picnic that Vogue was covering. It was all very exciting and inspiring.
Everything I own of Alabama Chanin's is unique and special to me. I love it all, but I’d say I have a special affinity for my indigo-dyed pieces. I love my embroidered coats, I love my quilts and American flags, all my pillows, nighties… you name it. I go through phases and get stuck on a certain dress or skirt or jacket, and want it in every color. I sleep in it, I dress it up and dress it down and am always adding to my wishlist. I sew my own, and sometimes when I’m too lazy to finish it I send a half sewn skirt back to be completed :) It’s the BEST.
Alabama is a true loyalist. She has stuck to her stitching throughout all the changes in the industry and as her company evolves. Her quality is exceptional, and her creative eye is unmatched. The textures and intricate designs are breathtaking and, once you start, it's hard to stop. Her library of swatch books is magical, and it’s always so difficult to choose as everything is so beautiful.
In this season of life, I think DIY is the way to go. Her kits have kept the “stitch’n bitches” entertained for hours on end. People are spending more time at home after the pandemic and lockdowns, finding comfort in this new, slower pace. We all need a creative outlet. And again, once you start it’s hard to stop. And as the world picks back up, an Alabama Chanin piece will always stand the test of time for special occasions.
I’d like to thank Miss Natalie for her friendship, her talent, the creative life she shares with us, her dedication to the cause, her inspiration and workshops, and for the years of fun and adventure. And for connecting me to a group of extremely talented women whom I love and cherish dearly, the “stitch n’bitches.” Natalie THANK YOU, I love you very much sista xx"
—Lisa Fox, founder and creative director, LF8
Slide 1: Lisa Fox wearing the Victoria Blanket Cape with Swans Island Company yarn embroidery during the inaugural Project Threadways Symposium T-Shirt and Sound: A Study in Material Culture from 1970 to Today, 2019, Alabama Chanin Fall/Winter 2018 collection, photograph by Rinne Allen (read an entry on Project Threadways here)
Slide 3: Natalie and Lisa Fox during the Makeshift 2012 Crafting Fashion pop-up shop at Billy Reid’s Bond Street location in New York City, photograph by Peter Stanglmayr (read an entry on Makeshift events here)