Famous Japanese fashion designer Hanae Mori dies at 96

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TOKYO — Designer Hanae Mori, known for her elegant, iconic butterfly designs, numerous movie outfits and the Empress of Japan’s wedding dress, has died, her office said Thursday. She was 96 years old.

Mori symbolized the rise of Japan as a modern, fashionable nation and the rise of the working woman. She died at her Tokyo home on August 11, days after developing a mild fever, according to Hanae Mori’s office. She had been examined by a doctor at her home, but no specific cause of death was given.

Empress Masako wore a Hanae Mori wedding dress adorned with rose petal designs when she married Emperor Naruhito, then Crown Prince, in 1993. Mori also designed uniforms for Japan Airlines flight attendants, bank employees, high school students and the Japanese team at the Barcelona Olympics. The uniforms were not flamboyant like her runway models, but tastefully professional, suited to their roles.

A model displays clothes by designer Hanae Mori on the catwalk during Amazon Fashion Week on March 23, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan.

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With his motto, “You feel decent no matter where in the world you wear them”, Mori wanted to instill confidence and dignity in those who wore his designs. Her umbrellas and scarves, often adorned with colorful butterflies, were a status symbol for working women.

She opened her studio in 1951 and pioneered a generation of Japanese designers who became world famous. His first show in New York, held in 1965, was acclaimed as “East meets West”.

She opened her Paris studio in 1977 and built an international business that spanned perfumes, handbags and publishing as well as fashion.

Renowned for infusing Japanese elements inspired by the kimono, Mori designed costumes for hundreds of Japanese films, in the 1950s and 1960s, dressing star actresses like Mie Kitahara, Sayuri Yoshinaga and Shima Iwashita, in some of the cinematic plays. most famous of the time.


Japanese fashion designer Hanae Mori, center, is applauded by models after the presentation of her fall-winter 1997-98 haute couture collection in Paris, July 9, 1997.

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The elaborate costumes she designed for singer Hibari Misora ​​are also well known to fashion enthusiasts. She also designed for opera, notably “Madame Butterfly” in Milan in 1985, and the Noh theatre. In 2002, she received the Legion of Honor from the French government.

She is survived by two sons, who have their own business, a daughter, seven grandchildren and several great-grandchildren, Hanae Mori’s office said. Her husband Ken Mori died in 1996. Her grandchildren Izumi Mori and Hikari Mori are models. A funeral service was held with the family. A public memorial service may be held, but details are yet to be determined.

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