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Mori, Hanae

fashion asian design japanese

B. January 8, 1926

Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan

Awards: Neiman Marcus Award, 1975
         Medaille d’Argent, City of Paris, 1978
         Symbol of Man Award, Minnesota Museum, 1978
         Croix de Chevalier des Arts et Lettres, 1984
Avant-garde Japon , Centre Pompidou, Paris, 1986
         Purple Ribbon Decoration, Japan, 1988
         Asahi Prize as Pioneer of Japanese Fashion, 1988
         Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur, 1989
         Person of Cultural Merit, Japan, 1989
Hanae Mori: 35 Years of Fashion , Tokyo, 1989, Monte Carlo, 1990, and Paris, 1990
Japonism in Fashion , Kyoto Costume Institute, 1994
Japanese Design: A Survey Since 1950 , Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1994
Orientalism , Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1994–1995.

Hanae Mori was one of the first Asian designers to cross over into Western fashion. Ever since the East was opened to the West, Europeans have borrowed Asian style elements for design and art, but this influence has always been a Western interpretation of Eastern design. As a native of Japan, Mori designs Asian-inspired clothing from an Eastern perspective and remains tied to her Japanese roots.

Initially Mori did not study design. She earned a degree in Japanese literature from Tokyo Christian Women’s University in 1947. After World War II, she attended design school and began producing her own designs in 1955. For the next several years, she created clothes for private clients and costumes for films and plays.

Mori entered into the international fashion scene in 1965 when she showed her first ready-to-wear collection in New York and opened a boutique in Tokyo. By 1977 she had solidified her reputation in the fashion world with the introduction of a haute couture line. That same year she became the first Japanese member of the exclusive Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.

In 1985 Mori opened a boutique in Paris, followed by one in Monte Carlo in 1986; by 1993, she owned more than seventy boutiques throughout the world. Mori and Cosmetique et Parfum International, a licensee, introduced a women’s fragrance in 1996. In addition, Mori has signed license agreements for menswear, children’s wear, golf clothes, and accessories such as jewelry, belts, and shoes. Some of her more recent license agreements include Hermès for scarves, Revman Industries for bedding, and Plaid Clothing Group for men’s and boys’ clothing.

Mori was able to expand her business through licensing and retailing based on her success with her women’s clothing lines. Known for her evening wear, Mori uses flowing, patterned textiles specially manufactured by her husband’s company. Her love of art is evident in the patterns she chooses; they range from OpArt to flowers and her trademark butterfly. Drawing from the Japanese aesthetic, many of her designs incorporate asymmetry, kimono sleeves, and Mao collars. During her forty-five years of designing, Mori has consistently produced simple, elegant shapes which focus on the draping of the fluid silks she employs. As one of the first Asian designers to cross over successfully into Western fashion, Mori opened the door for the popularity of the Asian aesthetic in the 1980s and the endurance of Asian style in Western design.

Morita, Akio - Overview, Personal Life, Career Details, Social and Economic Impact, Chronology: Akio Morita [next] [back] Morgan, Thomas Hunt

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