Designer Focus

Sonia Rykiel

Sonia Rykiel established her namesake brand in the Sixties to translate her vision on womenswear into modern-day femininity. Creative director Julie de carries on Rykiel’s 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 spring/summer 2018

Creative director at Sonia Rykiel, Julie de Libran, took beachwear to a higher level by fusing a sense of evening style into high-summer looks. The seashell, de Libran's main inspiration for this SS18 collection, appeared as a decorative trim on hems and cuffs, prints on silk dresses or more subtly, as pearl embellishments punctuating a sleeveless navy blazer and as white iridescent sequined silhouettes. A statement shoulder blazer, trouser suits and skirts featured an iconic gingham pattern in soft pastel hues or in black and white. Rykiel’s signature knits featured striped tops and shorts, crochet crop tops and halter dresses and an open-worked sweater with a racerback neckline and loose hanging sleeves. The show evolved from beach-inspired daywear to evening silhouettes featuring silk satin dresses accented with tassels and fringed detailing.