Sonia Rykiel, or the art of "unfashion".
The designer disappeared in 2016 but the mark she made on the world of fashion will not be forgotten. Crowned the "world's queen of knitwear", Sonia Rykiel modernised comfortable pieces designed for women who were liberated and active. Synonymous with her famous multi-coloured stripes, the designer, who is known above all else for her ready-to-wear lines, is also responsible for launching collections of bags and accessories.
Knit one, design (a big) one.
The Sonia Rykiel adventure started in Paris in 1962. The young woman with the fiery hair was pregnant and finding it hard to find clothes to suit her. Without any formal training as a designer, but married to the owner of a clothing designer’s shop, she designed a small fitted knitted jumper for herself. The item didn't go unnoticed by her circle of family and friends, and she went on to make creations for her husband, opening her first shop, where she sold items of knitwear, six years later. The Sonia Rykiel concept was simple: fashion must adapt to women and not the other way around. To make that happen, the designer used comfortable, flowing materials which enabled her to perfect a style with few constraints. Gradually, the brand grew, multiplying its collections and turned its hand, starting in the 1980's, to men's fashion and childrenswear.
Today, Sonia Rykiel also offers fashion accessories and footwear. Since its beginnings, numerous bags with elaborate lines have become popular, like the Baltard, which was a reworking of the Parisian shopping bag, and the Copain, which came in canvas and leather. As for their jewellery, they chose gypsy tones or rhinestone inlays whereas their glasses tended more towards rounded frames. The fashion house also put its name to a line of lingerie, then Rykiel Karma Body and Soul, a collection uniting comfort, colour and rhinestones.
The Rykiel identity without Sonia.
In 1995, it was Sonia Rykiel's daughter Nathalie who took over at the head of the fashion house. She started as creative and managing director before becoming CEO in 2007. Since 2014, Julie de Libran has been at the head of creation and, although the brand's founder is no longer with us, the Rykiel identity has lost nothing of its brilliance. National Order of Merit, Commander of Arts and Letters, Legion of Honour, etc. Sonia Rykiel received numerous distinctions paying tribute to her work and creativity. A woman who came from virtually nothing, and who succeeded in imposing her style on the heart of fashion: knitwear, stripes, inverted seams and ambitious pieces, at times embellished with rhinestone letters to add a playful, glamourous touch.
Of Sonia Rykiel, we will remember many iconic creations. The designer's eyes were often to be seen through a pair of fun reading glasses, so it's not a coincidence if, next to the well-known tweed dress with coloured stripes, we find a magnificent collection of glasses with a retro feel. Lastly, every wardrobe should have one piece of Sonia Rykiel knitwear, whether it's a sweater or a cardigan.