‘Madame Butterfly’: 8 Things To Know About Japanese Couturier Hanae Mori Who Passed Away At 96


Last night, the world of fashion mourned the demise of celebrated Japanese fashion designer Hanae Mori. Best known as ‘Madame Butterfly,’ Hanae’s close to 70-years-old legacy has made her a pioneer in the business of fashion. Mori, who opened her first ever store in Tokyo in the year 1951, was the flag bearer of Japan’s rising stake in fashion, and the working class women. Hanae’s idea of androgynous and feminine styles found a new definition through her designs. Her initial years in the industry brought her from a tailoring space above a noodle shop to her first American boutique in the 1970s. Walking her way to the creamiest layer of the business, Mori learnt from the success stories of Coco Chanel, Pierre Cardin, and Hubert de Givenchy amongst others. Synonymous with lacey, dainty designs, packed with Japan’s cultural significance, Hanae gave birth to her popular butterfly motif. A recipient of prestigious honours around the globe, Hanae, passed away at 96, as reported by her office. Here’s remembering one of the world’s most celebrated fashion icons.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Vogue Hong Kong (@voguehongkong)

The Turning Point

An influential meeting with designer Coco Chanel was the turning point in Hanae’s design career. It was then that the motivation of going global brought a new wave of change to her business strategies.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Laura McLaws Helms (@laurakitty)

Firsts Of Many

Hanae was the first Japanese designer to curate a showcase in New York in 1965. The inaugural global collection was well received and was known as “East meets West.” This further led to Mori’s first ever store in America, leaving behind a legacy for young Japanese designers to follow.

Leading The Haute Couture Trail

In 1977, Hanae also became the first Asian woman to have been invited by the prestigious Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. The honour also explained Hanae’s well-established name in the industry, since she was one of the handful of names to have gotten permission to labelling her designs as “haute couture.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Permanent Paper (@permanentpaper)

A Cinematic Experience

Besides being an established fashion designer, Mori also found a reputed space for herself in the world of Japanese cinema. The designer is known to have curated some iconic onscreen looks for popular Japanese stars like Shima Iwashita, Yujiro Ishihara, Mie Kitahara, musician Hibari Misora’s “Tokyo Dome Concert” and Milan’s “Madame Butterfly” Opera. She is also known for dressing up celebrities including, Grace Kelly, and Bianca Jagger.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by @55cosasbonitas

Dressing The Royals

Amongst her most popular works, Hanae also designed a white wedding gown for Japan’s Empress, then crown princess–Masako. The spectacular gown is still one of the most notable pieces of designs mentioned under her name.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Blue Blue Blue (@toshi.honda)

Shedding A New Light To Feminism

From a housewife to a working woman, Hanae was amongst the few Japanese women to have found a space in the working crowd. She also redefined the ideologies of feminism, asexuality and androgyny through her creations. The designer changed the idea of Japanese women going to work. During a time when the country was flooded with male-led positions in almost every second sector, Mori built a space for herself. Through her designs, she replaced the age-old practices of “concealment” in womenswear designs, with curations that made a statement. Bright colours and floral, butterfly motifs were her anchors in this journey.

Also Read: Sonam Kapoor Grieves The Loss Of Her Mother Sunita’s Favourite Fashion Designer, Issey Miyake

The Butterfly Effect

Popularly known as “Madame Butterfly,” Mori made the motif popular. Her brand which later expanded to a wide range of fragrances, scarves, and umbrellas, came adorned with butterfly and cherry designs. Her signature butterfly design was a stamp she fixed on her iconic collections.

Prestigious Honours

The late designer is also a recipient of many awards and honours in her home country. In the year 1988, she was awarded with Medals of Honour (Japan) of Purple Ribbon by the Japanese government. She also received honours including–the French Legion of Honour by President François Mitterrand of France and the Order of Culture by the Emperor of Japan.

Rest in power!

Featured Image Credits: Jasveen Kaur Sawhney

Issey Miyake Played An Important Role In Making Steve Jobs Popular In The Fashion Sphere. Their Lesser-Known Friendship Is Surprising!

Jasveen Kaur Sawhney

Jasveen Kaur is a fashion writer, and pyjama hoarder, who loves watching interviews of all kinds, and checking her Pinterest mood board every hour!

Read More From Jasveen
Seen it all?

We’ve got more!

If You Adore Her, Dior Her, Suggests This New Look On Mouni Roy How To Use Flax Seeds For Longer And Stronger Hair Like Priyanka Chopra? How To Do A Rhinestone Eye Makeup Look Like Jawan Actor Ridhi Dogra! Vignesh Shivan And Nayanthara Show Their Sons’ Faces In New Pics! 6 Times Alia Bhatt Disappointed Us With Her Makeup Look! Sonakshi Sinha Has An Ethnic Co-Ord Set For Every Type Of Bridesmaid! How To Ace Eye Makeup Like Salman Khan’s Niece Alizeh Agnihotri! From Masoom Minawala To Komal Pandey, Indian Influencers Who Dress Better Than Bollywood Celebs Style Tips To Take From Pooja Hegde In This Gorgeous Yellow Saree Sonam Kapoor Serves A Boss Lady Lewk At Milan Fashion Week!