Mori, Hanae

(1926- )
   Born in Shimane, Japan, as Hanae Fujii, she was educated at Tokyo Women's Christian University. Upon graduation in 1947, she married Ken Mori, an executive in a textile firm, which led her to enroll in a school for dressmaking. In 1951, she opened her first shop in Tokyo and was approached by a famous Japanese director, Sotojiro Kuromoto, to design costumes for his films. Mori designed costumes for operas in Milan, Paris, and Vienna, as well as for Japanese kabuki theater. She is most known for bringing the beauty and culture of Japan to the West with her exquisite fabrics, calligraphic prints, and use of traditional Japanese motifs such as butterflies and cherry blossoms applied to Western-style clothing, giving her the nickname Madame Butterfly. By 1977, she was the first internationally known Japanese designer and the first Asian couturière to be admitted to the Chambre Syndicale de la haute couture parisienne. She designed flight attendant uniforms in 1970 as well as uniforms for the Japanese Olympic team in 1994. She was awarded the Croix de chevalier des artes et lettres in 1984 and, in 1989, she received the chevalier of the Légion d'honneur and was awarded the Japanese Person of Cultural Merit award. After her husband's death in 1996, the company was sold to the British firm Rothschild and the Japanese trading company Mitsui. Mori continued to design the couture collection. In 2004, she showed her last collection in Paris and then closed the couture business and her Paris store. The Mori ready-to-wear and accessories line, owned by Mitsui & Co. Ltd. since 2002, continues to operate.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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