Iconic French fashion designer Sonia Rykiel died today, at the age of 86 after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Rykiel died at 5 a.m. at her home in Paris from the effects of Parkinson’s, her daughter Nathalie Rykiel said in a statement.
Rykiel launched her own fashion house in 1968 buoyed by the Swinging Sixties craze in London.
She had made her breakthrough in 1962 with the so-called "Poor Boy Sweater", a garment designed for women, that had long sleeves and a shorter, fitted shape.
The "Poor Boy" met resistance at first, but all that changed in December 1963 when Elle magazine featured the 19-year-old French pop idol Francois Hardy on its front cover in a stripy red-and-pink Rykiel number.
Then Brigitte Bardot and singer Sylvie Vartan were photographed in Rykiel sweaters and Andrey Hepburn herself went to the shop and snapped up five of them.
Rykiel was born in the upmarket Paris suburb of Neuilly in 1930 as the eldest of five daughters to a Romanian watchmaker father, and a Russian mother.
In 1954, she married a clothing store owner, Sam Rykiel, with whom she had two children and whom she later divorced.
Within the French fashion industry, Rykiel will be remembered as an original who helped cement Paris and, in particular, the Left Bank, as the capital of French Couture.
French President François Hollande offered his condolences to the fashion legend’s family and loved ones, calling Rykiel a pioneer who “invented not only a look, but also an attitude, a way of living and being”.
The Socialist president also said Rykiel’s style, “will remain a symbol of her remarkable work with colour and nature, fluidity and light.”
“She invented not only a look, but also
an attitude, a way of living and being”.
See the Sonia Rykiel Fall 2016 collection here
and the Resort Collection 2017
Thank You, Sonia!