Sonia Rykiel, French fashion designer, Died at 86


Sonia Rykiel (née Flis) was born on May 25, 1930, and died on August 25, 2016.

She was a French fashion designer and writer.

She grew up in a Russian Jewish family in Paris, her mother was Russian and her father was Romanian.

During 1953, she married Sam Rykiel, owner of Laura, a boutique selling elegant clothing in the 14th arrondissement.

They couple had two children, but divorced in 1968.

During 1962, she was unable to find soft sweaters to wear during her pregnancy, Rykiel used one of her husband’s suppliers from Venice to design her own sweaters.

She then created her first maternity dresses and a tiny sweater, called the Poor Boy Sweater, which she started selling from her husband’s label “Laura”.

The Poor Boy Sweater made the cover of French Elle magazine and brought Rykiel fame.

Additionally, the Actress Audrey Hepburn bought 14 sweaters in every colour.

During 1972, Rykiel was dubbed “Queen of Knits” by Women’s Wear Daily.

Sam Rykiel had helped her to create the Sonia Rykiel Company in 1965.

Together in spite of their getting divorced divorce together in 1968 they founded the Sonia Rykiel label in 1968.

They opened the first store in the same month, at the 6 rue de Grenelle on the Left Bank of Paris.

Sonia Rykiel invented the appearing seams on clothing, the “pas d’ourlet” consisting in the absence of hem, the “pas doublé”, which are all part of a new fashion philosophy: “la démode”.

Sonia created her own recognizable style through the use of black, stripes, lace, rhinestone, knit and written messages on sweaters.

Sonia Rykiel’s designs are in part to the image of a “feminine, free, sensual and independent: Parisian woman.

Sonia Rykiel later became the first designer to put seams on the outside of a garment, and to print words on her sweaters.

However, she favoured long clinging sweaters or small cropped pullovers, large rolled-back cuffs and long shawls.

Sonia Rykiel colour palette usually features beige, grey, dark blue, and charcoal. She has also created a range of fragrances of which ‘7e Sens’ was the first.

She was also a writer.

Sonia Rykiel wrote several books about fashion, a collection of children’s stories, magazine columns and an epistolary novel with Régine Deforges.

Sonia Rykiel first book Et Je La Voudrais Nue (I Would Like Her Naked) was published in 1979.

She collaborated with impresario and performer Malcolm McLaren on the song “Who the Hell is Sonia Rykiel?” on McLaren’s 1995 album Paris.

She died due to complications of Parkinson’s disease.

Sonia Rykiel passed away at 86 years old.