Fashion Designers

Mori Hanae

(Shimane Prefecture, 1926- )

Mori Hanae

Internationally famous for her striking fashion designs, Mori has also designed uniforms for public officials in China, costumes for film directors Kurosawa Akira and Mizoguchi Kenji and clothes for Princess Masako. Perhaps the first Japanese designer to achieve international recognition, in 1977 she became the first and only Japanese member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the governing body of French fashion.

Born in Shimane Prefecture, Mori was a student at Tokyo Women's Christian University until the she was forced to help the war effort by working in a factory. After the war, she married into a family in the textile industry and attended design school. She started a company making clothing for private customers and for theatrical companies. Following a chance meeting with Coco Chanel in Paris in 1960, she decided to pursue a career in haute couture.

After training in the US, Mori held her first collection of ready-to-wear designs in New York in 1965. Shortly after, she opened a boutique in Tokyo. Her designs bridge the gap between western and oriental themes. Touches like kanji characters used in a pattern, kimono-style sleeves on an evening gown or a Mao collar on a jacket are typical.


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