During her 50 years as a designer, Hanae Mori has been a fashion co-translator. She transformed traditional Japanese fabrics into clothing that Westerners would not be afraid to wear, and helped Japanese women understand Western cuts, fits, shapes and ways of wearing. She was from the only family in her town that wore western clothes at the time, and was the only girl in the kimono school to wear skirts and blouses.
Mori, who died at the age of 96, had no intention of becoming a designer. Her dressmaking course, which she took in post-war Tokyo in her early twenties, was solely for her to make clothes for herself and her future children. However, she became obsessed with Western techniques – irregularly shaped pieces, many with curvilinear contours, darts, gathers and drapes all sewn together and a simple Japanese tube construction enveloping her body. I was.
In 1951, she started a small studio above a noodle bar in Shinjuku, Tokyo. The district was cleared during World War II except for the train station. A vast black market and entertainment economy grew around that station during the U.S. occupation. for Americans and Japanese. Working with two assistants and her three second-hand sewing machines, Mori has created fashionable Western women’s clothing, either on-spec or made-to-order, that caters to both cultures.
The area had a large new cinema that attracted film industry professionals. First, the producer asked her to supply clothing, then to design the costumes for the film. She expanded with the national economy from a temporary workshop to a boutique.
Mori quickly became one of the leading figures in Japanese fashion, introducing the latest trends in a newsletter that evolved into the magazine Ryutsu Tsushin. She advised women about the difficult transition to a Western wardrobe. Western wardrobes made me uncomfortable exposing anything but my neck and hands, embarrassed by alien accessories, and unable to kneel on the matte floor of a chairless home.
She became so prosperous that she took an unusual approach to learning French haute couture. In 1960, she visited Paris, where she met designers she admired, such as Hubert de Givenchy and Coco Chanel, and ordered clothes for her. She advised Mori that she should wear orange to her entrance, which shocked Mori: Japanese women weren’t expected to stand out.
After returning to Japan, her coloring became brighter, and she proposed a more daring fusion mode, fusing Western cuts and Eastern fabrics and patterns to create an unrestricted ‘kimono vibe’.
East Meets West, Mori’s first couture-level international show in New York in 1965, appealed to the jet-set era’s penchant for wearing fluffy silks to and from exotic destinations. It was the perfect time to do it. She created a glossary, stocked luxury department stores, and later began amassing a client list that included Bianca Jagger, Lady Bird Johnson, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton and Princess Grace of Monaco. also wore a dress by Masako Owada, who married Crown Prince Naruhito in 1993.
She also learned a lot about high quality ready-to-wear in the US, new concepts in Japan, and licensing. Through these, she established her name and butterfly logo in Japan and around the world.
Unlike most couturiers, she was already financially stable and famous across the continent when she opened her salon in Paris in 1977.
Mori attributes her independence and curiosity to her father, Tokuzo Fujii, a progressive surgeon in Muikaichi (now Yoshiga), Shimane Prefecture. He, his daughter, and her four sons all wore clothes made from imported fabrics they had brought back from their visits to big cities. Both her parents were from wealthy families.
Nobu moved to Tokyo so that his children could get an education there. During the war, the entire family was evacuated except for Hanae. She was drafted into the factory and defiantly remained in the city while it was destroyed. Like other women during the war, she adopted peasant work clothes. Mori knew it was the moment Western clothing became their future.
In 1947, after graduating from Tokyo Women’s University with a degree in Japanese Literature, she got married. “I thought she was a very nice housewife for a month, but she didn’t like being at home,” she said, starting her course in designing and making clothes.
Her husband supported her work and for decades was the public forum for contacts and engagements in an all-male business world. By 1986, Mori was invited to become the first female member of Keizai Doyukai. By then, she was a multi-million dollar earner, showcasing couture in Tokyo, New York, and Paris, and fully expanded into businesses across her brand range, including cosmetics, perfumes, and home furnishings.
The shifting East-West balance that established her success also determined her destiny. Young designers encouraged by Mori, such as Kenzo, Miyake, Issei, Rei Kawakubo, and others, gave the West a new look at Japanese design that was sharper and less graceful than Mori, but Japan was completely immersed in world fashion. and Ralph is more likely to wear her Lauren. A mori chiffon dress made from denim woven in Japan.
She sold her store and licensing business to an investment group in 2002, filed for bankruptcy for the remainder of Empire with $100 million in debt, and retired in 2004 with her final Paris collection. But from fashion pioneer to empress dowager, her image in Japan will forever shine. In 1989 she was awarded the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor and in 1996 the Order of Culture.
Kenzo passed away in 1996. Her two sons, Akira and Kei, who worked in a forest business, survived her.