Why We Loved The Sonia Rykiel Brand

Why We Loved The Sonia Rykiel Brand
Why We Loved The Sonia Rykiel Brand

Video: Why We Loved The Sonia Rykiel Brand

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An ironic look at fashion

From the very first collections, Sonia Rykiel deliberately put things in an unfavorable light. She worked with cashmere so that it was least like cashmere, turned the seams out, offered sweaters that looked like they were eaten by a moth. This approach has been characteristic of the French brand throughout its 50 years of existence.

During the shows, while Rykiel was creative director, the models were always smiling.

Show at Paris Fashion Week, 2018
Show at Paris Fashion Week, 2018

Show at Paris Fashion Week, 2018 © facebook.com/SONIARYKIEL

Innovation

The Sonia Rykiel brand was among the first representatives of the pret-a-porter segment. On May 25, 1968, Rykiel opened a store on Rue de Grenelle, although due to public unrest, it had to be closed for almost a month. Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot were among the first clients and admirers of the French brand.

The designer has never been associated with couture, and it is very curious that in 2018, when the brand celebrated its 50th anniversary, the French haute couture federation itself invited Sonia Rykiel to take part in the next week. The show took place in the backyard of the École des Beaux-Arts, located in Saint-Germain, a part of Paris chosen by Sonia Rykiel in the 1960s.

Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff / Getty Images For Sonia Rykiel
Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff / Getty Images For Sonia Rykiel

1 of 3 Fall / Winter 2018/2019 haute couture show © Bertrand Rindoff Petroff / Getty Images For Sonia Rykiel © Bertrand Rindoff Petroff / Getty Images For Sonia Rykiel © Bertrand Rindoff Petroff / Getty Images For Sonia Rykiel

Also in 2009, Rykiel was one of the first to agree to a collaboration with the mass-market brand H&M, and a year later the designer also created a collection of lingerie for the Swedish brand.

Sonia Rykiel & H&M Lingerie Collection Launch Party, Grand Palais, Paris, 2009
Sonia Rykiel & H&M Lingerie Collection Launch Party, Grand Palais, Paris, 2009

Sonia Rykiel & H&M Lingerie Collection Launch Party, Grand Palais, Paris 2009 © Michel Dufour / WireImage

Jersey

Sonya Rykiel was called the queen of knitwear. This title was awarded to her by the Women's Wear Daily. Rykiel's husband's parents owned Laura, which was also one of the first to offer pret-a-porter collections. One day Sonya came across sweaters brought from Venice. She didn't really like the models, but she saw the potential in them and asked the supplier from Italy to make something similar, but more fitted and form-fitting. A prototype was soon ready. By a lucky coincidence, on the same day, the editor of Elle came to Laura, who really liked Sonya's idea, and the sweater got on the cover of the magazine. “So I became the“queen of knitwear”, not understanding anything about it,” laughed Rykiel.

Fall-winter collection show - 2012/2013
Fall-winter collection show - 2012/2013

Fall / Winter 2012/2013 show © Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

In the 60s, she managed to significantly modernize knitwear and make them not an addition to the wardrobe, but its base. In 1964, a collection of things in wide stripes saw the light. Since then, the pattern has become an integral part of the brand's style.

Reflection of Rykiel's personality in the brand's collections

Rykiel's mother was Russian, and his father was Romanian. She later said that she was Slav from head to toe, adding that it meant "to be desperate and optimistic at the same time." Rykiel enjoyed a good reputation among her colleagues. In 2008, the brand attracted many designers to create an anniversary collection. Jean-Paul Gaultier, Albert Elbaz, who headed Lanvin at that time, Vivienne Westwood, Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani and others wore voluminous wigs on the models, reminiscent of Rykiel's lush red bob; someone captured the image of the designer in prints and appliques, someone dressed up in branded striped sweaters, and Gaultier gave the models huge knitting needles.

Ralph Lauren look from Sonia Rykiel anniversary show
Ralph Lauren look from Sonia Rykiel anniversary show

1 of 3 Jean-Charles de Castelbajac at the Sonia Rykiel anniversary show © Stephane Cardinale / Corbis via Getty Images Jean Paul Gaultier at the Sonia Rykiel anniversary show © Stephane Cardinale / Corbis via Getty Images Ralph Lauren at the Sonia Rykiel anniversary show © Stephane Cardinale / Corbis via Getty Images

In 2016, after a long battle with Parkinson's disease, Rykiel died at the age of 86. At the first show after her death, in the finale of the show, models took to the catwalk wearing sweaters with letters that form the inscription "Rykiel forever."

Photo: facebook.com/SONIARYKIEL
Photo: facebook.com/SONIARYKIEL

© facebook.com/SONIARYKIEL

Financial problems began in the company after the death of its founder.>

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