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Hanae Mori, prolific Japanese fashion designer, dies at 96

  • September 7, 2022

Designer Hanae Mori, known for her elegant signature butterfly motifs, numerous cinema fashions and the wedding gown of Japan’s empress, has died, her office said Thursday. She was 96.

Mori symbolized the rise of Japan as a modern, fashionable nation and the rise of the working woman. She died at her Tokyo home Aug. 11, a few days after developing a mild fever, according to the Hanae Mori Office. She had been examined by a doctor at her home, but no specific cause of death was given.

Mori was known for her elegant signature butterfly motifs.
Mori was known for her elegant signature butterfly motifs.
Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Mori designed the wedding gown of Japan’s empress.
Mori designed the wedding gown of Japan’s Empress Masako in 1993.
Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Empress Masako wore a Hanae Mori wedding gown adorned with rose-petal patterns when she married Emperor Naruhito, then the crown prince, in 1993. Mori also designed uniforms for Japan Airlines flight attendants, bank clerks, high school students and the Japanese team at the Barcelona Olympics. The uniforms were not flamboyant like her runway designs, but tastefully professional, appropriate for their roles.

With her motto, “You feel decent, no matter where in the world you wear them,” Mori wanted to give confidence and dignity to those wearing her designs. Her umbrellas and scarves, often decked with colorful butterflies, were a status symbol with working women.

Mori symbolized the rise of Japan as a modern, fashionable nation and the rise of the working woman.
Mori symbolized the rise of Japan as a modern, fashionable nation and the rise of the working woman.
Getty Images
She died at her Tokyo home Aug. 11, a few days after developing a mild fever, according to the Hanae Mori Office
She died at her Tokyo home Aug. 11, a few days after developing a mild fever, according to the Hanae Mori Office.
Kyodo News Stills via Getty Imag

She opened her studio in 1951 and was a pioneer of a generation of Japanese designers who became globally prominent. Her first New York show, held in 1965, was acclaimed as “East meets

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