Hanae Mori, designer known for butterfly motifs and empress’ wedding gown, dies at 96

  • Japanese designer Hanae Mori died at her Tokyo home on Aug. 11 at the age of 96.
  • According to the Hanae Mori Office, Mori developed a mild fever a few days before her death, although a specific cause of death was not given.
  • Known for her butterfly designs and film costumes, Mori also designed uniforms for Japan Airlines flight attendants, bank employees and high school students.
  • The late designer also created hundreds of costumes for Japanese films.
  • She is survived by two sons, a daughter, seven grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

Hanae Mori, a Japanese designer known for her butterfly motifs, film costumes and the wedding gown of Japan’s empress, died at the age of 96 on Aug. 11.

The Hanae Mori Office stated that Mori had developed a mild fever a few days before her death, although a cause of death has not yet been revealed. A private funeral was held with family, and a public memorial service may be held. 

During Mori’s time as a designer, she symbolized the growth of modernization and fashion in Japan as well as the rise of working women. 

In 1951, Mori opened her studio and held her first fashion show in New York, acclaimed as “East meets West,” in 1965. She then opened her Paris studio in 1977 and began growing an international business selling perfumes and handbags.

In 1993, Mori designed a wedding dress adorned with rose petal embellishments for Empress Masako when she wed Emperor Naruhito. In addition, the late designer also designed uniforms for Japan Airlines flight attendants, bank clerks, high school students and Japan’s team at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

Mori wanted those wearing her designs to exude confidence, as communicated by her signature motto: “You feel decent, no matter where in the world you wear them.”

For working women in Japan, Mori’s umbrellas and scarves adorned with colorful butterflies were a symbol of status. 

She was also well known for designing hundreds of costumes for Japanese films in the 1950s and ‘60s, having dressed actors such as Mie Kitahara, Sayuri Yoshinaga and Shima Iwashita. Mori also designed costumes for the opera, such as the 1985 Milan opera “Madame Butterfly.”

Mori was awarded the Legion of Honor from the French government in 2002. 

She is survived by her two sons, a daughter, seven grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. 

Featured Image: Getty Images

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