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A haute couture gown by Hanae Mori.

A haute couture gown (hand-made and custom-fitted for the client) by the late Japanese fashion designer Hanae Mori has been donated to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture of Human Resources (CTAHR) Historic Costume Collection.

The gown is made of silk chiffon and features sequins and beads sewn on to look like bamboo, fans, leaves and three-dimensional flowers. Mori’s motif was the butterfly, which was incorporated into many of her creations, and this gown features a draped butterfly wing in the front.

Mori was the only Asian person in her lifetime to be accepted by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode—the French organization that governs haute couture fashion.

“This donation will complement other Hanae Mori creations we have in the collection, and its history is a nice link between fashion, agriculture (plants), and philanthropy,” said Andy Reilly, a professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. “The collection represents the history of Hawaiʻi as told through clothing, and I am very thankful that the gown will remain in Hawaiʻi.

The donor, Fredrica Cassiday, had originally considered gifting it to the Met in New York, Reilly explained, but wanted it to remain in Hawaiʻi and chose CTAHR instead.

For more information, see CTAHR’s website.

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