Hanae Mori dies at the age of 96, these were the surprising creations of the Japanese designer

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Hanae Mori dies at 96, this was the career of a pioneer of Japanese fashion
Hanae Mori revolutionized fashion and with her designs she brought Japanese culture to the whole world. Photo: Reuters

Hanae Morithe fashion pioneer who brought Japanese motifs to global haute couture and created Empress Masako’s wedding dress, has died at the age of 96.

nicknamed “Madame Butterfly” due to his fetish motif, butterflies, I died died on August 11, the news agency said on Thursday Kyotociting the dressmaker’s office and without giving further details.

The luxurious manual creations of Hanae Mori were used by Nancy Regan, Grace Kelly and countless members of Japanese high society including Masakowho became Empress of Japan in 2019.

She was also a pioneer among Japanese women, one of the few to head an international corporation.

The designer used to highlight the need to transmit to the new generations “the importance of craft creation”, pointing out that “the capacities of the human being are disappearing in this age of information technology”.

“When human beings work with their hands, their creative abilities are amplified,” he told AFP in 2006.

Born on January 8, 1926 in a rural area in western Japan, Hanae Mori studied literature at Tokyo Women’s Christian University. But she decided to reorient herself towards fashion after marrying Ken I diedmanager in the textile industry.

Some of the surprising designs of the designer

Autumn-winter haute couture collection in Paris 2004. Photo: AFP
A model presents a Hanae Mori creation at Tokyo Fashion Week in 2017. Photo: AFP
Japanese flower inspired designs. Photo: AFP

Coco Chanel’s revelation in Hanae Mori

At the age of 25, in a Tokyo that was reborn from the Second World War, he opened his first store in front of a cinema.

And it was lucky: coming out of a movie, a Japanese director noticed her designs and commissioned the costumes for his next film, the first of hundreds of Japanese feature films in which she would collaborate.

After these beginnings linked to the big screen, her career took her to New York and Paris, seeking inspiration by exploring as a client in galleries and haute couture stores.

So he went to the studio Coco Chanel who, after quickly studying his client from the “land of the Rising Sun”, suggested a bright orange outfit to contrast with her jet black hair.

That advice perplexed her and became a revelation to her. Hanae I died: “The whole Japanese concept of beauty is based on concealment (…) I suddenly realized that I had to change my approach and make clothes that help women stand out,” he later explained.

His first international collection, in 1965 in New York, celebrated the “East-West Encounter”, a motif that would mark his entire creation: a mix of the Western touch combined with motifs inspired by kimonos, cherry blossoms, birds and butterflies.

His definitive consecration took place in 1977 when he opened his workshop in Paris and entered the Chamber of Haute Couture of that city, the first Asian to obtain it.

Although he closed his Parisian workshop in 2004, after his last show there, the shops Hanae I died they still operate in Tokyo and their fragrances are sold all over the world.