Japanese fashion designer Hanae Mori dies

Japanese fashion designer Hanae Mori, left, with a fashion model wearing one of her creations in Paris in 1977. (Photo: AFP)

TOKYO: Japanese fashion designer Hanae Mori, who cracked the elite world of Parisian haute couture, has died at her home in Tokyo aged 96, Japanese media reported Thursday.

Mori died on August 11, Kyodo news agency reported, citing her office, without giving further details.

Nicknamed "Madame Butterfly" for her signature winged motif, over the decades Mori's luxurious hand-crafted creations were worn by Nancy Reagan, Grace Kelly and countless members of Japanese high society.

But she was also a pioneer for Japanese women, one of a tiny number to head an international corporation.

Her trailblazing career took her from Tokyo -- where she started out making costumes for cinema -- to New York and Paris, where in 1977 her label became the first Asian fashion house to join the rarefied ranks of haute couture.

Her first collection abroad -- in New York in 1965 -- celebrated the theme "East Meets West."

Japanese fashion greats such as Issey Miyake, who died earlier this month, followed in her path.

Though she shuttered her Paris atelier in 2004, after her last couture show there, Hanae Mori boutiques remain open in Tokyo and her fragrances are still sold worldwide.


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