Designer Focus

Sonia Rykiel

Sonia Rykiel established her eponymous brand in the sixties with the aim to translate her vision on womenswear into a modern-day feminine aesthetic. Current artistic director Julie de Libran honours the Rykiel legacy and carries on its signature silhouettes.

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About the designer

French designer Sonia Rykiel made her first jumper in 1960 and sold her handmade pieces in her husband's Paris-based store. Eight years later, she opened her first boutique in Saint-Germain-des-Prés with the intention to enable women to choose freedom instead of rooted elegance. Rykiel was celebrated as fashion’s reigning knitwear queen in 1967 by WWD magazine, despite never learning how to knit herself. With unfinished seams, a touch of masculinity and reversible items, Rykiel’s collections were diverse and unpretentious, breaking the rules of Parisian fashion.

She designed for women who were slightly ahead of their time and always on the move, the same way she sees herself. Both her mysterious nature and more boyish side come together in the silhouettes, making it impossible to pin down at times. Women should feel sheltered and comfortable wearing her clothes. She stated, ‘my clothes are put together out of different basic elements so that a woman can express the way she wants to look, transform and metamorphose herself not into the woman I decide she should be, but the one she wants to be’. In 2014, Julie de Libran was appointed as creative director for Sonia Rykiel, elevating the rich history with modern-day finesse.

Collection autumn/winter 2017

Seriously inspired by the French-American artist Niki de Saint Phalle, artistic director Julie de Libran wandered off to Saint Phalle's poppy art collection while designing the AW17 collection. Although the presentation set off quite serene presenting off-white and light khaki-hued silhouettes featuring a double-breasted oversized coat, loose fitting trousers and a cable knit accentuated by large stitching. Black long-sleeved velvet dresses alternated a patent leather pantsuit and khaki trench coat. Shearling capes offered the perfect layering for marine-striped and dainty floral-patterned dresses, where astounding ostrich feathers richly accentuated dresses, coats, sandals, and boots. The highlight of the collection was undoubtedly the sequined mermaid dress layered with a quilted ankle grazing gilet coat in electric blue satin punctuated by a feather fur lining, a silhouette that Sonia Rykiel herself would definitely approve.