Hanae Mori, famous Japanese fashion designer, dies at 96

Pioneering Japanese fashion designer Hanae Mori, who achieved international acclaim for her “East meets West” themed designs, died of old age at her Tokyo home on August 11, her office said. She was 96 years old.

The fashion pioneer, known for her butterfly designs, became the first Japanese woman to be listed as an official “haute couture” designer in Paris in 1977. Mori presented her collections for decades in Japan and abroad until on his retirement in 2004.

Mori’s career included designing a white dress for Japanese Empress Masako worn during wedding celebrations for her marriage to Emperor Naruhito in 1993. She has also designed costumes for hundreds of Japanese films over the years. 1950, and later for Noh and Kabuki theater.

Fashion designer Hanae Mori (center R) walks the runway during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week July 2004 in Paris, France. (Gamma-Rapho/Getty/Kyodo)

Attracting attention for his works fusing the traditional Japanese kimono into robes, Mori has designed uniforms, such as several editions for Japan Airlines flight attendants and the official outfit worn by the Japanese team during the inauguration ceremony. opening of the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

Born in Shimane Prefecture in western Japan in 1926, Mori moved to Tokyo with her family and graduated from Tokyo Woman’s Christian University.

File photo taken in June 1993 shows Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako at the Imperial Palace, with Princess Masako wearing a dress designed by Hanae Mori. (Photo courtesy of Imperial Household Agency)(Kyodo)

After opening her first studio, Hiyoshiya, as a seamstress in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district in 1951, she held her first overseas fashion show in New York in 1965.

In 2002, Mori’s eponymous brand went bankrupt with debt of over 10 billion yen ($74 million). Thereafter, she devoted herself to the creation of haute couture clothing, before holding her last fashion show in Paris in 2004.

A file photo taken at Tokyo’s Orchard Hall in 2002 shows a woman dressed in an outfit adorned with Hanae Mori’s signature butterfly designs. The world-renowned fashion designer died on August 11, 2022 at her home in Tokyo at the age of 96. (Kyodo) == Kyodo

Even after retiring from the forefront of the fashion industry, Mori created costumes for operas in the 2010s.

She became the first female member of the Japan Association of Business Executives in 1986. She was awarded the Purple Ribbon Medal by the Japanese government in 1988, an honor given to those who have contributed to academic and artistic developments.

In 2002, Mori received the Legion of Honor, France’s most prestigious decoration, at the rank of officer.

File photo taken on July 25, 1992, shows Japanese athletes wearing uniforms designed by Hanae Mori during the opening ceremony of the Barcelona Olympics. Mori died on August 11, 2022 at her home in Tokyo at the age of 96. (Kyodo) == Kyodo

“She was a fashion pioneer in Japan. At a time when the industry was not established, she shaped what it meant to work as a designer,” said fashion curator and researcher Akiko Fukai.

“Being the first Japanese woman listed as a designer of haute couture in Paris, the highest peak in the fashion world, means she has been recognized on the world stage. She has left a huge footprint.”

Mori’s granddaughters, Izumi Mori and Hikari Mori, are models in Japan.

Photo taken in 2015 shows fashion designer Hanae Mori speaking at an event in Shimane prefecture. (Kyodo)

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