Hanae Mori: A Life Of Fashion
By Mari Davis
(Photo: Hanae Mori on the runway, Haute Couture Fall 2004 show.)
DALLAS, Jun 27, 2004/ FW/ --- In 1960, 34-year old Hanae Mori accidentally met Coco Chanel during a suit fitting at
Mori who studied fashion in her native Japan, and has been working as a costume designer
since 1951 embarked on further design training upon her return. Her encounter with Coco Chanel
Six years later (1965), Hanae Mori made her debut in New York, with Neiman Marcus picking up
Ten years after (1975), she moved to Paris, showed her haute couture collection at the French
capital, and opened her Haute Couture Maison in 1977.
She became the only Asian designer to become a member of the governing body of French fashion,
La Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisian.
But her journey from Japan to Paris was not easy. Born in 1926 in rural Shimane, she
studied literature at Tokyo Christian Women University which was interrupted with the
outbreak of World War II.
After the war, she returned to her studies, but got married before graduation to the son
of a wealthy textile manufacturer.
As a young bride, Hanae Mori found herself with lots of free time. Not wanting to idle,
she studied fashion design.
In 1951, she opened up a costume design business, and designed over 700 costumes for
directors such as Ozu, Oshima and Kurosawa.
In 1960, that fateful encounter with Coco Chanel gave her the push to try her hand at
In 1977, Hanae Mori became the first Japanese member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the French
governing body of top fashion houses.
After 27 years of showing her delicate kimono print fabrics and classic tailoring during the
Haute Couture season, Hanae Mori who turned 78 this year announced her retirement.
In a statement, her company said that after 50 years of work in fashion spanning
Tokyo, New York and Paris, Mori would retire and her haute couture subsidiary would close.
On July 7, 2004, Hanae Mori will show her last haute couture collection. Her presence will
sorely be missed.
Click on image to read the review and view the collection.