Japan Hanae Mori, a designer who made the Parisian haute couture world go wild and was called “Madame Butterfly” for her signature motif, died in Tokyo. She was 96 years old. Over the decades, Mori’s gorgeous pieces have been worn by Nancy Reagan, Grace Kelly, and countless members of high society.

But she was also a pioneering Japanese woman and one of the few women to lead an international company. An employee at Mori’s office said Thursday she died at her home on August 11, “due to old age,” and was given a private funeral. She began making costumes for films, moved to New York and Paris, and in 1977 her brand became the first Asian fashion house to join the rare ranks of haute couture.

This file photo taken on July 7, 2004 shows Japanese designer Hanae Mori (middle right) walking the catwalk after presenting her Fall/Winter 2004-05 haute couture collection in Paris .

Exclusive French clubs set strict standards for handcrafted and very expensive garments. When you work, your creativity expands.” There, a robot modeled a replica of her classic “chrysanthemum pajamas.” .

In January, the designer summarized her feelings about the industry in a special daily column for Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun. she said.

This photo is of the late Hanae Mori, a Japanese designer in Tokyo.

Encounter with Chanel

Born in the countryside of western Japan in 1926, Mori studied literature at Tokyo Women’s University before pursuing a career in design. She opened her first atelier above her Tokyo noodle shop and specialized in dressing silver screen stars. As Japan’s economy grew after the war, so did her business, and when her television appearance made the film industry less profitable, she moved to Paris and New York at the recommendation of her husband, a textile executive. visited.

“It was kind of a turning point for me,” she once said of a trip to Paris in the early 1960s where she met Coco Chanel. It was a moving encounter. When she stepped into the Chanel studio, the iconic designer suggested wearing a bright orange outfit to contrast her dark hair.Amazing, Mori thought .

According to The Washington Post, “The whole Japanese concept of beauty is based on concealment. I suddenly realized that I needed to change my approach and make women stand out in dresses,” she said. .

‘East meets West’

In 1965, Mori presented his first overseas collection in New York under the theme of “East Meets West.” Her designs combined traditional patterns such as cranes and cherry blossoms with her trademark butterflies with Western styles, from wool suits to sharp satin tailoring. Mori moved her brand from Tokyo to Paris in the late 1970s and was quickly embraced by her fashion insiders.

This file photo taken on March 23, 2017 shows Japanese designer Yu Amatsu poses for photographers with a model after his fall/winter 2017 collection show at Tokyo Fashion Week in Tokyo, Japan (center left) and Hanae Mori (center right).

She saw the difference between herself and her Japanese peers who later became world famous. For example, Rei Kawakubo, who is famous for Issey’s Miyake, Yoji’s Kanojo Yamamoto, and Comde’s Kanojo’s Garçon. “Young Japanese designers living in Paris are passionately avant-garde,” she told The Washington Post. “I’m not. I love following the traditional way.”

Mori has built her brand into a business empire. In its heyday, an entire building in Tokyo designed by architect Kenzo Tange was occupied, but was later demolished and replaced with another structure at typical Japanese speed. “It wasn’t all positive,” she recalled in her Yomiuri column until the fashion house’s retirement from couture. The reason I was flying around was because I loved making clothes.”

This file photo taken on July 7, 2004 shows a model exhibiting the work of Japanese designer Hidee Mori at the Fall/Winter 2004-05 Haute Couture collection in Paris.

“I wanted to change”

Mr. Mori designed the gown worn by Crown Princess Masako at her wedding in 1993, as well as the flight attendant uniforms for Japan Airlines. In 1985, he created the stage costumes for “Madame Butterfly” staged at La Scala in Milan. But her losses grew in the early 2000s, her empire was largely sold, and she closed her Paris atelier in 2004 after her last couture show. Hanae Her MoriHer boutique is still open in Tokyo and her fragrances are still sold worldwide.

As a powerful businesswoman, Mori was a rarity in Japan, where boardrooms are still male-dominated. Speaking of her early marriage, she was never once invited to join her husband’s friends. I wanted to do something different,” he said. – AFP

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