Hanae Mori has died aged 96. The Japanese fashion designer was the first Asian designer to join the ranks of haute couture designers by the Fédération Française de la Couture in 1977, with the exclusive Parisian club being seen as the pinnacle of high-end fashion.
Mori graduated from Tokyo Women’s Christian University in 1926, after which she attended dress-making school. Going on to open her fashion house in 1951, and launching her first collection, ‘East Meets West’ in New York City in 1956, her business grew to be worth $500 million by the 1990s. Having been able to dress the likes of Grace Kelly, and the Japanese Royal Family, as well as Princess Grace of Monaco, Mori’s career reached incredible heights.
Nicknamed as ‘Madame Butterfly’, Mori was known for her staple butterfly prints on her garments. They were popular among career women, with the designs mixing styles from the East and the West. Mori’s designs also made appearances in the theatre world, as she made costumes for operas such as Madame Butterfly, and ballets including Cinderella. The designer received many awards, most recently including the Order of Culture by the Emperor of Japan in 1996.
Her collection spanned into fragrances and accessories, including sunglasses, stockings, and umbrellas, as well as aprons and carpets. It is clear that she will be sorely missed in the fashion world, as tributes flooded in after the news broke.
Mori’s cause of death was due to old age, as she passed in her Tokyo home on 11 August and was given a private funeral.
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