Hanae Mori, a Japanese fashion designer who gained entry into the exclusive world of Parisian haute couture, passed away at home in Tokyo on Thursday at the age of 96, according to Japanese media.
Because of her distinctive winged theme, Mori was given the moniker “Madame Butterfly,” and many other members of high society have sported her elegant designs over the years.
She was one of a very small number of Japanese women to run a multinational firm, but she was also a pioneer in that regard.
Without providing any other information, the Kyodo news agency reported on Thursday that Mori passed away on August 11.
The news was also reported by the public broadcaster NHK and other media outlets, who noted that a private family burial had previously occurred and listed “old age” as the reason of death.
Initially creating costumes for movies, Mori’s trailblazing career brought her from Tokyo to New York and Paris, where in 1977 her label became the first Asian design brand to enter the exclusive world of haute couture.
The “East Meets West” concept was highlighted by her first overseas collection, which debuted in New York in 1965.
She was followed in her career by legendary Japanese designers like Issey Miyake, who passed away earlier this month.
Hanae Mori closed her Paris atelier in 2004 following her final couture show there, however her Tokyo boutiques are still operating and her fragrances are still available all over the world.
She encapsulated her thoughts on the business in a special column for Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper in January.
“Fashion is something that pushes you, gives you courage to spread your wings and allows you to have adventures,” Hanae Mori discussed.
In its prime, Mori’s business and fashion empire occupied an entire Kenzo Tange-designed skyscraper in Tokyo, which was swiftly demolished and replaced with a new edifice.
She acknowledged in her Yomiuri column that “not everything was great,” from the loss of the building to the retirement of her fashion brand from haute couture.
“I seemed as though my butterfly wings had been severed. But because I like sewing garments, this butterfly was able to travel for 70 years.”